Three major groups have come together to lead a new project to improve wellbeing and welfare in the industry in the face of a grim new static showing its suicide rates are approaching four times the national average.
The Construction Leadership Council has asked the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and Mates In Mind Charity to work together to co-chair the project, named Make It Visible, to improve wellbeing and welfare within construction along with initiatives to accelerate universal culture change to reduce stigma, break down barriers and increase awareness of support services.
The initiative will look to unite the CITB, HSE, Supply Chain School, trade and professional bodies, clients and contractors to formulate and execute a plan of action with key deliverables and measurement to drive the change necessary to improve the wellbeing of our workforce and ultimately reduce the suicides in our industry.
Sarah Meek, managing director of Mates in Mind said “These latest statistics demonstrate that we need to do more as an industry to prevent people reaching the point of crisis, by addressing the causes that negatively impact on one’s mental health and thereby reduce the need for safety nets. There is much that we can do around prevention and employers should be encouraged to view their responsibility around this across their total workforce including their supply chain who, from our research earlier this year, have shown to be working with severe levels of anxiety. With positive moves already beginning which sees mental health starting to feature in frameworks, we must continue building on this and encourage conversations around how contracts are both procured and awarded to address some of the factors that can have such a detrimental effect.”
Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity said, “Over 87% of our construction workforce are male and over 50% of the sector is made up of self employed, agency staff or zero hour contract workers. Financial insecurity is a major factor for poor wellbeing in our workforce and the pandemic added greater anxiety and emotional burden.
“The industry and charities like ours have made huge strides in recognising and delivering programmes to improve wellbeing but the results from 2021 simply galvanise our resolve to do more. Our messages of support are not reaching the boots on the ground. We all have a moral responsibility and an economic imperative to work together to improve the wellbeing and welfare or our workers.”