Traditionally, the construction sector has been associated with high pressures and demanding environments, leading to a prevalence of work-related stress and mental health issues among its workforce. The industry’s inherent challenges have often made it difficult for individuals to voice their struggles or seek support from colleagues.
However, a noteworthy transformation is underfoot. A growing number of construction companies are recognising the importance of prioritising their employees’ mental health and wellbeing. With an abundance of resources, information, and training readily available, fostering a supportive and empathetic organisational culture has never been more achievable.
We have collaborated with our colleagues at Building Mental Health to assemble a toolkit of resources to guide companies in initiating and advancing mental health support within their organisations. Building Mental Health is a collective of volunteers from the construction industry dedicated to consolidating information and fostering dialogue around mental wellbeing.
They propose five pivotal steps to cultivate a supportive mental health culture within the construction industry:
Demonstrate Commitment: Sign the Building Mental Health Charter to visibly commit to prioritising mental health within your organisation.
Promote Available Support: Ensure employees are aware of your Employee Assistance Programme and the Construction Industry Helpline, accessible via phone and a dedicated mobile app.
Raise Awareness: Conduct interactive ‘toolbox talks’ to raise awareness, help employees recognise signs of struggle in colleagues, and facilitate open conversations about mental health.
Empower Leadership: Train line managers and supervisors on appropriate responses and support mechanisms when confronted with mental health concerns.
Certify Mental Health First Aiders: Aim to train approximately one in every 100 employees or subcontractors as certified mental health first aiders.
These selected resources are designed to underpin these steps and serve as an excellent starting point for organisations new to this journey, offering avenues for immediate, impactful changes.
The increasing recognition of mental health as a priority within the construction sector is indicative of a broader, more compassionate approach to employee wellbeing. Companies are not merely acknowledging the presence of mental health issues, but are proactively seeking to create environments where employees feel valued, heard, and supported.
This shift towards a more inclusive and supportive industry culture is a testament to the collective efforts of organisations, advocacy groups, and individuals championing mental wellbeing. The construction industry is not only building structures but is also laying down the foundations for a more empathetic and understanding working environment.
By embedding mental health awareness and support into the fabric of organisational culture, the construction industry is paving the way for a healthier, more resilient workforce, ultimately contributing to the long-term success and sustainability of the sector.