What Is World Mental Health Day?
Published 8th October 2021
Sunday 10th October is World Mental Health Day and Taziker want to use this opportunity to raise awareness around mental health issues, especially within our industry. This year’s theme is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have created a campaign for this day, with the slogan “Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality” and the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay.
There are some staggering statistics from the Mental Health Foundation including:
- One adult in six had a common mental disorder
- 4-10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime
- Three times as many men as women die by suicide
- Men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK
Mental Health in the Construction Industry
As well as the issues regarding high male suicide rates, a 2020 study found that 83% of construction workers have experienced a mental health issue. Additionally, this is likely to have been negatively affected by the impacts of Covid-19. In our industry, we should make it our responsibility to build awareness around the high levels of mental health issues in construction workers and the considerably high suicide rates out of all industries – as well as provide essential support and remedies.
A high percentage of on-site construction workers are male, who are generally less likely to access help – only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men. This can cause escalation of issues rather than recovery and support. Men are also more likely to become dependent on alcohol and use drugs, which can cause further health problems.
Construction work can cause stress and anxiety due to:
- The uncertainty of upcoming projects
- Relocation away from family and friends
- High pressure environments
Therefore, it is important that mental health is prioritised as much as physical health, especially within this industry.
Taziker want to encourage our people to seek help and not to suffer in silence. We have 31 qualified Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) who have been trained to help and support those who may be developing mental health problems. Our Mental Health First Aiders have completed training to understand mental health; recognise the early signs; offer their support; and gain the confidence to step in to reassure and support a person in distress.
In our field of work, many of our projects are on bridges. Because of this, there has been a number of incidents where our workers have experienced members of the public attempting to take their life. In these situations, our thoughtful people have stepped in and helped. This a highly commended action and those involved can feel a strong sense of pride for behaving with such consideration.
However, as much as this can be a good outcome, the incident could be highly serious and distressing for them. Our MHFA’s are invaluable in these situations to provide their assistance to our workers who have been in this position. Recently, one of our newly trained MHFA’s was fortunately on-site to help a person in distress. The Taziker employee recognised the person was in danger and went above and beyond his daily duties, using his MHFA skills.
Our Mental Health First Aiders are not only important for our own employees, but also for the public, themselves and their friends and family too.
We want to remind all of our employees across all divisions and departments, that our Mental Health First Aiders are always happy and willing to help.
As well as having Mental Health First Aiders as part of our workforce, we also provide additional resources such as posters on site and a dedicated support website. Our online resource is available free of charge and offers advice on a variety of matters; be it at work or at home. All our employees have access to this service.
What You Can Do to Help
If you believe someone else may be suffering from a mental health issue, you can help too. Our on-site posters contain information about how you can talk to someone and offer your support. Start by asking “Are you OK?” – this could be all it takes to give someone the opportunity and confidence to talk to you. You can also receive guidance on the prevention and treatment of depression and suicide via the WHO website.
Mental health care is available and Taziker hope our services will make it easier for our people to access any support they may need.