Mental Health Awareness Week: Exploring the effects of anxiety
Published 15th May 2023
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from 15th – 21st May and this year’s theme centres around anxiety.
Anxiety is a normal emotion that we’ve all experienced, whether it’s before a job interview, exams or other huge life events. However, anxiety can become a debilitating mental health problem that has a lasting impact on the sufferers’ day to day life, both physically and mentally.
Anxiety disorders are more common than you might think, with 6 in 100 people being diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in any given week in the UK . However, less than 50% of people with GAD access treatment for the condition .
Anxiety in the Construction industry
In a 2022 study, it was revealed that a third of construction workers suffer from elevated levels of anxiety every day . Long hours, demanding workloads, job security and being away from loved ones are all big factors that can lead to stress and anxiety amongst those in the industry.
On site construction workers are primarily male and generally, men are less likely to talk about their mental health. This can be for a multitude of reasons, from societal ‘norms’ that they need to be ‘strong’ or seen as ‘manly’ to the fear of being seen as weak for talking about the problems they may be facing.
However, when it comes to talking about mental health, there were encouraging statistics from Construction News Mind Matters 2022 survey, where 53% said they were more comfortable talking about their mental health with colleagues, up from 33% in 2019 .
Could this be a sign that the stigma around mental health is changing? While certainly positive and a step in the right direction, there’s still much more we can do to break down barriers and that regardless of gender identity, age or background, mental health affects everybody.
At Taziker, we want to encourage open and honest conversations around mental health and for our people to have the confidence to seek help and crucially, never suffer in silence.
Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs)
We have 46 Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) across the company and they have completed training which provides them with a deeper understanding of mental health issues. During the training, they learn to recognise the early signs of a mental health crisis and also develop key skills to step in to support someone who may be in distress. Our number of Mental Health First Aiders has risen by 48% since 2021, further strengthening the support available at our sites across the UK. Alongside this, we have a Mental Health First Aiders support group, which encourages networking between our MHFAs and highlights the resources available. We have mental health awareness posters displayed at all our locations to encourage people to talk to a MHFA or our private Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) counsellors.
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a confidential employee benefit designed to help people with problems affecting their personal or professional lives and general wellbeing. Through the EAP, there is a 24/7 confidential helpline, offering immediate telephone support. The service can also offer telephone/online chat counselling sessions for our people, their partner or spouse and dependants (between the ages of 16-24 in full time education).
On our rewards platform TAZICare, we have a Wellbeing Portal with a host of resources including interactive health assessments, fitness and lifestyle advice, four-week self-help programmes, mini health checks, advice on financial wellbeing and much more.
Keeping the conversation going
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, the Mental Health Foundation has some useful tips for managing anxiety, including breathing techniques, exercise, keeping a diary alongside the further information and support available.
Click the link to view the PDF: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/2023-04/MHAW23-coping-with-anxiety-tips.pdf
Keeping the conversation going around mental health has never been more important and we all have a part to play, ensuring that no one is alone in their struggles.