FOR ‘TALK TO US’ month this July, The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity is raising awareness of the importance of talking about wellbeing issues with friends, colleagues and professionals to prevent situations from reaching crisis point.
Working in construction can be extremely rewarding but also has its challenges. Over 87% of the workforce is male and so is less likely to talk about and share their problems.
Additionally, long hours, tight deadlines and lack of job security can contribute significantly to poor mental health.
Many contracts involve working away from home without the normal support network of family and friends, so trying to keep everyone happy including family, bosses, main contractors and clients, can often be too much.
Talk to Cope
Talking can be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while and just being listened to can help you feel supported. You never know who might be struggling so don’t forget to check up on your friends, family and colleagues to see how they are coping.
Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity said, “Last month, we saw a record 300 calls to our 24/7 construction industry helpline, but the positive message is that people are feeling more able to reach out and talk to someone.
“No problem is too large or too small and if callers are not comfortable with talking on the phone, they can use our text support service to chat. They can even visit one of our Lighthouse Beacons to meet and talk face to face in a safe environment.
Talking can make us feel vulnerable, but it shouldn’t be seen as a sign of weakness. We know that all the work we are doing, together with industry efforts is helping to reduce the stigma of talking about feelings and problems.”
Part of that work, is the charity’s partnership with National Grid at its interconnector site in Kent. A wellbeing facility encourages a positive environment where people can share their issues and be signposted workers to information on how to reach out for support.
Nicola Medalova, MD of interconnectors for National Grid said, “We need to ensure that wellbeing initiatives are reaching the most vulnerable and more needs to be done to improve support and services offered within the sector. That is why we have partnered with mental health professionals from the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity to provide support to all of our workers and provide easy access to a huge range of wellbeing support.
“As well as this, there are lots of informal ways to connect with workers and build relationships, particularly for those who feel intimidated by professional help. Sometimes just talking to a friend or colleague can help.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling, you can reach out for 25/7 free and confidential support via; 24/7 Construction Industry Helplines: 0345 605 1956, (UK) 1800 939 122 (ROI) or text HARDHAT to 85258 (UK) 50808 (ROI) or contact us via our website.