Changing workplace cultures

Mates in Mind has welcomed the launch of the online Mental Health at Work gateway, emphasising that changing workplace cultures requires ongoing leadership and hands-on-support.

The interaction between work and mental health is complex and sensitive, and remains a challenge for employers, Mates in Mind said recently.

Evidence from a study into workplace wellbeing by the mental health charity Mind (2018) showed that lack of awareness remains a barrier to addressing the issue in work and greater awareness and practical training is a valuable investment. But, as the research also found, those staff who felt their line manager supported their mental health were 11 times more likely to disclose a mental health problem, compared with those who did not, which demonstrates how important it is to embed the change within a workplace.

Steve Hails, chair of Mates in Mind, said: “Mental ill-health has been on everyone’s agenda but in our industry, which is, despite our endeavours, male dominated, we are more susceptible than most.

“Thankfully, things are starting to change, but we still have some way to go. Putting the right kind of support in place was the start of the conversation for us, and for many others. Importantly, this needs to happen across all levels of the business, and leadership is key.

“And in our industry, with the nature of the supply chain, it is important also that it’s about recognising that this responsibility is not just about regarding the welfare of our own staff.

“This is what makes Mates in Mind so special in that we are working collaboratively across the sector through various projects and works, building in the change we need throughout the supply chain.  After all, more than three quarters of those working in construction are employed by SMEs.”