Mental Health in the Construction Industry

Mental illness is a big problem for the construction industry and mental health first aid courses can help improve mental health in the construction sector

It’s hard to find reliable data about mental health across industries, but one industry that’s consistently at the forefront, is the construction sector. Construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than from a serious fall.

Although discussions around mental health have entered the mainstream, there’s still residual stigma and most notably, fear. Fear that disclosing mental illness will ruin career prospects, or make the sufferer appear weak. This leads to many suffering in silence, feeling increasingly isolated. According to Construction News, 60 percent of people with a mental illness, waited more than a year before they told anyone.

The Chartered Institute of Building found that 26 percent of people working in the construction sector, had suicidal thoughts in 2019 and that 97 per cent reported feeling stressed in the past year. 70 percent of respondents suffered from depression, while 87 percent experienced anxiety. CIOB President, Professor Egbu, said lack of HR support, job insecurity and long hours, coupled with late payments and time away from families, had resulted in a silent crisis.

Most worrying, is the fact 56 percent of respondents worked for companies with no mental health policies. Things are likely to look far worse post-COVID.

So, if you’re working in the construction industry, what changes can you make to improve mental health?

Construction Industry Helpline offer a range of support services, including a free app, for those in immediate need. Looking ahead, it’s more important than ever for companies to introduce mental health policies and protocols.

Mental Health training is an obvious starting point, enabling companies to involve employees directly, through becoming Mental Health First Aiders. Over two days, course attendees learn to spot the signs of mental illness and respond on a first aid basis. It’s not a substitute for a professional diagnosis, but it can be vital to averting a crisis. It also sends a strong message to employees that the company is committed to supporting them through any mental health issues. Aside from fulfilling a duty of care, Mental Health First Aid training improves productivity, reducing absenteeism, staff turnover and presenteeism.

The next course is 17th-18th December. To find out more, or discuss alternative course dates, email or visit our page on Mental Health First Aid.

Back to news >