New initiative aims to support suicide prevention in construction
Construction industry charity Lighthouse Club has launched a campaign to raise mental health awareness and prevent suicide in the construction sector.
Help Inside the Hard Hat promotes a range of free resources and support for people working in construction, including a 24/7 helpline, mental health training and access to an app.
The construction industry helpline app, available through the App Store and Google Play, is a self-help tool aimed at those who would like more information about how they can help themselves, or if necessary, take the next step in seeking professional help.
To raise awareness of the campaign, Lighthouse Club has produced posters available in different sizes that can be downloaded for free. They are also available in Polish and Romanian.
A worrying issue in construction
In the UK, two construction workers take their life every working day and stress, anxiety and depression account for a fifth of all work-related illnesses, Lighthouse Club research shows.
The rate of construction suicides has been on the increase in recent years. A 2021 study found that the number of suicides per 100,000 construction workers rose from 26 to 29 in the four years to 2019.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that the highest suicide numbers by occupation are among skilled construction and building trades. The figures include males and females aged between 20 and 64 in England.
Previous ONS datasets show that the risk of suicide among low-skilled male labourers, particularly those working in construction roles, was three times higher than the male national average.
Intersectional issues, including age, place, race and occupation, also affect the differences in suicidality for different groups of men.
The third report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Issues Affecting Men and Boys recommended the introduction of mandatory mental health sections on procurement frameworks in the construction industry.
24/7 Construction Industry Helplines
0345 605 1956 (UK)/ 1800 939 122 (ROI)
Text HARDHAT to 85258 (UK) / 50808 (ROI)
Via the Construction Industry Helpline website
National framework provider Pagabo recently started including mental health provisionswithin construction contracts. According to the company, this initiative can help normalise what is still seen as a taboo topic by many in the industry.
Initiatives like talking breaks can also help prevent loneliness and improve the wellbeing of workers.
This article was first published in Construction Management.