- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 12 Feb 2018
Tackling mental health - 6 point plan
In December 2017, the ICE Costain Annual Safety lecture focused on the issue of mental health from a human, business and safety perspective. In this article, Mind’s Paul Farmer CBE, CEO discusses how engineering and construction can lead the way in tackling mental health at work.
We all have mental health in the same way that we all have physical heath – and it can fluctuate. Whether or not we have a mental health problem our experience at work can have a huge impact on our state of wellbeing.
At Mind we’ve been be working with employers since 2010 to improve things and our research has found that 4 in 5 of employees with poor mental health said that their workplace was a contributory factor.
 Recognising the problem
It’s good to see that many employers are now beginning to realise the cost, both human and financial, of not addressing the mental health needs of their work force. It’s also an issue getting attention from the highest level.
Earlier in the year the Prime Minister commissioned myself and Lord Dennis Stevenson – who was one of the first senior business leaders to speak openly about his own experiences of depression – to lead a review of employment and mental health.
The report revealed the stark reality of the challenge we face. 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem fall out of work every year while issues relating to mental health in the workplace cost the UK economy up to £99bn every year.
After working with business leaders from across different sectors, Mind produced the Thriving at Work report, which introduced 6 mental health core standards that we believe all employers should be putting in place:
- Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan.
- Develop mental health awareness among employees.
- Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling.
- Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development.
- Promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors.
- Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
 Standards, benchmarking and best practice
These standards have been welcomed by government but we know that the implementation of these standards will differ greatly from among employers and sectors. We need to see a real cultural change with a willingness from employers to properly address the mental health needs of the national workforce and we believe that these core standards lay the foundations for change that will transform people’s workplace experience.
For senior leaders within civil engineering and beyond it’s now time to use these standards as a basis for change that will allow a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce to prosper. We’ve seen this sector take massive strides in improving safety. There was a sense in the room that a similar level of attention can and should be paid to mental health of the workforce.
We provide training and consultancy on everything from mental health awareness and line manager training to emotional intelligence and resilience. We have also launched our Workplace Wellbeing Index – a new benchmark of best policy and practice that also provides bespoke recommendations for the companies involved on areas for improvement.
With growing recognition of the importance of getting this right, we need to start embedding best practice into organisations of all shapes and sizes, and we’ll continue to use our experience to help employers achieve this.
 Taking action
We were reminded at the lecture that over 400 people in this sector take their own lives every year. Many of these tragic deaths were preventable. It is now time to change the conversation about mental health for good.
This article was originally published by ICE here on 2 Feb 2018.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can go some way to show the impact of new buildings on their surroundings.
The shortlist for the 2018 prize for the UK's best new building is revealed.
Amendment to Bill aims to provide councils with greater powers to increase tax premiums on empty homes.
As the latest summer blockbuster 'Skyscraper' is released, we look at some of the best uses of buildings in film.
Read our introductory article on how to layout a building.
New cross-party report calls for combustible cladding ban to be extended to all high-rise residential buildings.
Dr Nicholas Falk, director of the URBED Trust, explains why metro cities are the future of urbanisation.
From next week, UK firms can bid for a share of a £12.5m fund to boost productivity, performance and quality.
A right to light generally refers to the right to receive sufficient light through an opening.
Interference and compatibility - the effects of electromagnetic fields in the workplace.