Supporting mental health in the construction industry

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Explore the ways that brands and individuals can support tradespeople with their mental health and wellbeing in the wake of Covid-19.

On 4th August 2021, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) released a comprehensive report about the mental health and wellbeing of those working in the construction industry.

The key research findings from the report reference Covid-19 and job insecurity in particular as key stressors which are detrimental to the wellbeing of tradespeople. An emphasis is put on the need for immediate action to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and improve the support available to workers in the construction industry.

“There are some really great initiatives out there. Unfortunately, what this report shows is that the SMEs and micro-employed that have been trying to get that support, it’s been hard to reach and get hold of them.”

– Olly Constable, Client Partner

BACKGROUND

The Construction Industry Training Board conducted a research report on mental health and wellbeing initiatives and programmes in the UK construction industry. The main research objectives were to explore how Covid-19 may have exacerbated emotional and mental stress, and evaluate the most efficient ways to effectively target small and micro construction companies to help them tackle the issue; be it through the wider supply chain or direct support for those outside the supply chain.

“A healthier, happier environment will attract new people, improve productivity and enhance construction’s reputation. Most importantly it will mean better lives and saving them.

Industry leaders are keenly aware of the need to improve mental health and wellbeing. And while an encouraging number of employers are taking positive action, more work is urgently needed.”

– An excerpt from the report

REPORT FINDINGS

“This report is the most comprehensive study conducted on mental health within construction. It collates pre-existing research with up-to-date feedback from the industry.”

– Excerpt from the report

The report collected data from three phases of desk research; qualitative telephone interviews with construction companies and industry stakeholders; and a quantitative telephone survey with construction companies.

The CITB found that there is a prevalence of poor mental health within the construction industry. Factors that usually increase the risk of poor mental health for construction employees, are: working away from home / frequent

travelling; occupational stressors; heavy workloads and long working hours; and job insecurity.

Evidence for the effectiveness of the support available is limited, and only measures the uptake levels, not the impact on mental health and wellbeing.

NEXT STEPS

Following the publication of the comprehensive report, CITB and the CLC (Construction Leadership Council) are taking tangible next steps to support the mental health and wellbeing of those in the construction industry, including the development of a centralised platform for information and support.

“Construction companies and industry stakeholders highlighted that any future dashboard should also measure progression (i.e. the level ‘maturity’ of a company) regarding mental health and wellbeing as well as the level of signposting to appropriate sources of support to address any gaps or ‘underperforming’ areas.”

– Excerpt from the report

The report concludes with examples of case studies and best practices from a number of entities that the industry can take inspiration from, including Mental Health First Aid England, Mind, and Building Mental Health.

Mental health and wellbeing is a fundamental pillar of the On The Tools community. Our main aims are to break down the stigma associated with ill mental health and to raise awareness of the support out there.

The findings of the CITB report confirm what we often see and hear from our community: that more needs to be done by way of service provision and there is a long way to go to normalise conversations on the topic.

As part of our commitment to be community first, we listen to what is happening within the construction industry,and from key industry bodies such as the CITB, to understand what we can do to contribute towards improving the mental health of tradespeople in the UK.

You can read the full CITB report here for more information.
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