As a long-standing advocate for mental health awareness, Prince William is now shining a light on the need for increased suicide prevention measures in construction
Prince William visited a Mace construction site in West London today (13 September) to discuss the prevalence of suicide in the industry.
The royal visit, which followed World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September), highlighted the crucial need to focus on prevention, rather than crisis management, when it comes to mental health support.
Workers in construction are at high risk of suicide, with rates in the industry more than three times higher than the national average, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
During the visit, His Royal Highness spoke with construction workers from across the industry who shared their experiences and some of the challenges they and their colleagues have faced.
The Prince also heard from mental health charity Mates in Mind about the work that it is doing to empower employers and key stakeholders, including contractors, supply chains and policy makers, to help improve mental wellbeing across the industry.
Sarah Meek, managing director of Mates in Mind, said: “We were truly honoured to host a visit from The Prince of Wales today, to discuss the importance of focusing on prevention, rather than crisis management, to reduce the unacceptably high number of suicides in the construction industry.
“As a charity, we aim to ensure that no-one experiences mental ill-health through their work. Therefore, it was a wonderful opportunity during this visit to be able to raise awareness of mental health, to start conversations about the issues and contributory factors faced at all levels within construction, the impact that arises, and continue eradicating the stigma of mental ill-health and the barriers that surround it.”
Mates in Mind is working with Mace to promote the implementation of proactive prevention strategies within the sector to ensure that employers support workers to maintain their mental health and to both identify and address issues early.
As part of this collaboration, Mace aims to improve understanding and awareness of mental health through the provision of workshops and training, as well as enabling those who are at risk of mental health issues to access the right support at the right time.
Mike Barford, Mace’s project director, said: “It was a real honour to meet with The Prince of Wales and share some of the work that we’ve been doing with our site team to support them with their mental health.
"The culture around mental health and wellbeing in our industry is improving, but far too slowly – and we know if we want to make a real difference we need genuine cultural change. I hope that moments like this one can help to drive that shift in attitudes.”
Mates in Mind has free information and resources available for employers here.
The Samaritans provides 24/7 support on 116 123. The Lighthouse Club also provides a confidential 24/7 support helpline on 0345 605 1956 to anyone in the industry who needs financial or wellbeing support.