Addressing mental health in the Construction industry
2,754 men and women working in the skilled construction and building trades in England and Wales, killed themselves between 2011 and 2019 according to ONS figures.
Looking at mental health in general, figures for England have shown that 1 in 6 people will experience a common mental health problem such as depression or anxiety in any given week. These figures pre-date the start of Covid.
A report from the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) found that certain factors, unique to the construction industry, can cause the high numbers of poor mental health and wellness we see. These include long hours, lengthy commutes, the pressure to complete work on time and within budget, and the traditional ‘macho’ culture that exists within the construction industry and late payments on work.
Brogan Group have an existing team of qualified mental health first aiders to support our staff and are increasing the team with the addition of a new member, who is being enrolled on a mental health first aid training course. This is run by a trainer whose motivation followed a personal tragedy in the scaffolding sector.
Sacub Qureshi lost 2 close friends to suicide a few years ago. These events were the reason why the Scaffolding Instructor decided to pack up his tools and set up a company called Teaching And Learning Kindness Ltd, TALK.
"I was unaware of the depression my friends were experiencing, so I wanted to raise awareness of the different mental health illnesses that can affect us all. Since the first lockdown I have trained really hard and have had to learn a whole new subject to enable me to reach out to scaffolders and the wider construction industry so that what happened to my mates would not happen to anyone else"
This initiative has been supported by Bez, from the Happy Mondays, who has agreed with his mate Sacub to become the Patron of TALK. The first course ran from the 15th - 19th March delivered through the Mental Health First Aid Training (MHFA) England Online Learning Hub. At the end of the course attendees created a mental health First Aid action plan, to better support their colleagues at work.
The Brogan Group attendee Mark Shanly, Scaffolding Supervisor, successfully passed his Mental Health First Aid course. Mark volunteered to attend this course outside of working hours in order to help his fellow colleagues in times of need. The trainer for the course, Sacub Qureshi at MHFA Training commented on Mark ‘He was brilliant throughout the course and is a credit to your company, well done Mark!’.
We spoke to Mark Shanly on his views on the training:
“I think I’ve always been approachable with the team at work for any problems they’ve had in the past and now I’ve had the mental health first aid training it makes me feel more confident in helping in a more professional way. It gives me satisfaction in knowing the lads and ladies at work have someone to talk to in their hour of need. I would recommend this course to anyone working in construction, as mental health is a very serious issue, especially after the year we have all had.”
Attendance on the course for Mark was kindly sponsored by Fulcrum Scaffold Safety & Training Ltd.
Brogan Group is also a long-term supporter of the Lighthouse Club, a charity for the UK and Ireland that supports its construction members with advice on a wide range of matters including occupational health and wellbeing issues as an employee or an employer, and advice for sufferers of stress and addiction-related illness. Find out more here.