Focus on metal well-being

The UK construction sector is aiming to improve the health and mental wellbeing of its workforce as it welcomes the full roll out of the Mates in Mind initiative.

Mates in Mind is tailored to the needs of individual construction companies as they seek to tackle poor mental health while nurturing positive mental wellbeing among the workforce.

The programme is being delivered to the UK construction industry in support of the Health in Construction Leadership Group and in partnership with a number of industry representatives and mental health charities.

Key to its success is breaking the silence and stigma that can surround mental health in society in general, and the construction sector in particular, by promoting a culture of positive wellbeing.

According to Health and Safety Executive figures, 18% of reported work-related illnesses in the UK construction industry are the result of mental health problems – such as stress, depression or anxiety – accounting for 400k working days lost each year.

Industry data reports that 55% of construction workers had experienced mental health issues while 42% are living with these issues at their current workplace. Construction deaths from suicide are also believed to be potentially ten times higher than that of fatal accidents at work.

Mates in Mind provides a joined-up approach to mental health, from support to employees, line managers and the organisation, through to a tiered training framework developed in collaboration with various organisations including British Safety Council, Mind and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England. This builds understanding, knowledge and confidence among all workers, throughout the business, so that they can get the help they need as well as to identify colleagues who could benefit from further support.

Clive Johnson, Chair of the Health in Construction Leadership Group and Head of Health and Safety at Landsec, said: “For too many years the industry has been shouting about safety but only whispering about health. I am extremely proud that Landsec and the HCLG are at the forefront of ensuring mental health provision within construction is dramatically improved.”