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Last edited 14 May 2021
Mental health in the construction industry
The term ‘health’ has evolved over time from referring simply to the body's ability to function, to include physical, mental and social wellbeing. Mental health refers to a person’s psychological and emotional wellbeing.
According to the UK’s Mental Health Task Force (2016): 'Mental health problems represent the largest single cause of disability in the UK. The cost to the economy is estimated at £105bn a year – roughly the cost of the entire NHS.'
According to the Centre for Mental Health (2017), 91 million days are lost each year due to mental health problems. The cost to UK employers is estimated at nearly £26bn every year – or £1,035 per employee.
- The high pressure, sometimes physically demanding nature of the work.
- Long hours.
- The transient and unpredictable nature of the work.
- The macho culture that exists in some parts.
- Working away from home.
Mental health issues can include:
- Addictions and other problems with drugs, alcohol, gambling and so on.
- Eating disorders.
- Insomnia and other sleeping disorders.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Personality disorders.
- Self esteem issues.
- Self-harm and suicide.
This can affect:
- Construction workers.
- Other people involved in the construction industry such as consultants and suppliers.
- Building occupants.
- Third parties such as neighbours, passers-by and so on.
- 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.
- Tackling mental health issues in construction.
- Tackling mental health - 6 point plan.
- Mental health first aid.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Changing attitudes towards the mental wellbeing of early career Architectural Technology professionals.
- Sick building syndrome / building related illness.
- Health and safety.
- Construction Health and Safety Group CHSG.
- COVID-19 and mental health within construction firms.
- Environmental health.
- Occupational health.
- Public health.
- Managing stressful issues in construction.
- Mental health and wellbeing.
- Biophilic design.
- Indoor air quality.
- Indoor environmental quality.
- Heat stress.
- Stop Make a Change SMAC-20.
- Understanding and managing workplace stress is critically important to civil engineers.
- Understanding mental health in the built environment.
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