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Last edited 27 Sep 2021
Construction leadership for mental health
The increased spotlight on mental health post pandemic lockdowns has provided a renewed focus for the construction and engineering services sectors to review inadequate approaches to workforce mental health and wellbeing.
The World Health Organisation highlights the importance of employers fostering good mental health, describing it as a “state of wellbeing in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
A study by the Office for National Statistics (2017) highlighted the scale of the problem in construction, detailing the risk of suicide among low-skilled male workers being three times higher than the male national average. For males working in skilled trades, the highest risk was among building finishing trades; particularly, plasterers and painters and decorators who had more than double the risk of suicide than the male national average. Electricians have seen a marginal increase in yearly suicide rates, yet it remains one of the lowest risks of the skilled trades.
These statistics were the foundation for commissioned research from the CITB, Mental Health And Construction: A Consistent Approach, which confirmed the scale of the mental health challenge facing construction.
The CITB report provides a high-level summary of the cultural factors contributing to poor mental health as working away from home and frequent travelling, occupational stressors, heavy workloads and long hours and job insecurity.
The report therefore calls for stronger leadership on mental health from the CLC (Construction Leadership Council). The aims of this approach are to coordinate best practice and networking opportunities, provide a centralised platform for information and support, promote ongoing work, review the needs of smaller firms, promote awards to highlight best practice and create an authoritative dashboard.
BUPA health insurance. If you provide medical insurance for your employees then cover for mental health conditions may be included. If you do not provide private medical insurance and would like to find out more about how a policy can help you and your employees, you can contact EC Insurance Services Limited (ECIS) at [email protected]uk or visit www.ecins.co.uk.
Webinar, Coronavirus: Mental Health and Wellbeing presented by Vickie Leslie, ECIS, client relationship manager and Paul Williams, ECA Health and Safety Manager provides some insight into what constitutes mental health, the importance of supporting your and your team’s mental health, with some useful insight and practical tips. A recording of the webinar can be accessed here: Coronavirus: Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Support is also available for employees who are or have worked in the energy and electrical industries through the Electrical Industries Charity. This includes non-means tested counselling and mental health support (capped at 4 – 6 sessions).
This article originally appeared on the ECA website. It was published on 22 September 2021.
 Related articles
- Articles by the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA).
- COVID-19 and mental health within construction firms.
- Mental health.
- Mental health and wellbeing.
- Mental health first aid.
- Tackling mental health issues in construction.
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