Mental wellbeing targeted

The charity Mates in Mind will be delivering a series of educational sessions in a bid to raise awareness, address the stigma of poor mental health, and improve positive mental wellbeing among Northern Ireland’s construction workforce.

Over a third of workers have experienced metal ill-health in the past year, and almost a quarter of workers consider leaving the industry due to mental health-related problems, which is exacerbated by a prevailing belief that employers are neither able to recognise or address these problems.

Furthermore, the UK construction industry suffers from rates of suicide that are higher than any other industry sector, a fact compounded further by Northern Ireland’s already high rates of suicide compared to other parts of the UK and Republic of Ireland.

CITB(NI) is providing initial funding for this kick start initiative, which includes: 20 half-day training sessions; a two-day mental health first aid training course that will lay the foundations for improving mental health; and two sessions specifically tailored for board members.

On completion of the sessions, delegates will also have access to 24/7 telephone counselling support.

As a result, a cross section of around 400 people in Northern Ireland’s construction sector will be provided with the information, tools and techniques to spot the signs of poor mental health and learn how to guide their colleagues towards appropriate support.

Joscelyne Shaw, executive director of Mates in Mind, said tackling the stigma associated with poor mental health “is achieved by creating a culture built on an understanding of what good mental health looks like”.