Roofers Urged to Join ‘Big Brew’ to Tackle Construction’s Mental Health Crisis

BoB Big Brew web

ROOFING CONTRACTORS are being urged to get involved with construction charity Band of Builders’ (BoB) new national campaign: ‘Big Brew’.

The campaign will start on 1st of October, and will aim to highlight the construction sector’s mental health and wellbeing crisis. Tradespeople will be encouraged to talk over a cuppa in a bid to encourage more open and honest conversations on the topic of mental health across the construction industry.

BoB has organised a range of campaign events on construction sites and at builders’ merchants across the UK to encourage people within the industry to support one another and break down the stigma around mental health. Resideo (through its Honeywell Home brand), Jewson, DeWalt and JW Grant are supporters of the Big Brew and have pledged to host events throughout October.

Construction Mental Health Crisis

The campaign comes amid a mental health crisis within the industry, with the suicide rate of UK construction workers estimated to be as high as two people every day. UK construction workers are also nearly three times more likely to die by suicide than their counterparts in other industries.

Further figures show that:

    • In the UK alone, more than 400,000 working days were lost to mental health issues in 2018 (55% of all days lost)
    • Mental health issues cost the UK construction industry approximately £37 billion every year
    • In 2019 found that 90% of construction managers said they had struggled with their mental health

BoB is a registered charity that helps members of the UK construction industry who are battling illness or injury. It does this through the completion of practical projects, with volunteer tradespeople giving up their time to work on these projects, while materials are donated by companies across the construction industry.

Peter Cape, Big Brew lead at BoB, wants to encourage roofing contractors to get involved with the Big Brew:

“It’s so important that members of the construction community look out for each other, including talking about mental health or looking for the telltale signs that fellow roofers may be struggling – and what better way to do it than over a brew, especially a big one,” said Peter.

He went on to say: “We are all acutely aware of the mental health crisis within construction. Suicide rates in the sector were already at one per day before the COVID pandemic, according to ONS figures, and it’s widely accepted that these have worsened to closer to two per day.

“At Band of Builders, we see the struggles of our colleagues within our community on a regular basis and see peer-to-peer support as vital to addressing this crisis. That’s where the Big Brew comes in.

“By encouraging people to do such a basic thing – sharing a brew – we want to create a space where tradespeople and others in the sector can share experiences, break down taboos around mental health and support one another. The Big Brew isn’t just about a few one-off events but about creating something long term that will address one of the biggest issues in our industry all year round.”

NFRC Support

The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) is backing the idea, and Chief Executive James Talman said: “Ensuring the mental well-being of those working in our industry has never been more critical. Employers have an important role to play here, and so we encourage roofing contractors to put on a ‘Big Brew’ for their teams and have an open conversation about mental health.” 

What the Big Brew will Fund

Anyone can host a Big Brew – roofers wishing to register to host their own events can visit the official page to find out more. Hosting a Big Brew will offer a place for people to meet and share a cuppa. It will also help raise funds to provide a range of mental health support services aimed at members of the UK construction industry and focused on supply chain companies, small businesses and the self-employed, who were recently discovered to be at higher risk than those working in larger organisations. 

These support services will include:

    • Funding dedicated industry mental health support lines
    • The provision of interim counselling services to support members of the UK construction industry
    • The provision of counselling support for BoB beneficiaries and volunteers
    • The provision of 300 free mental health awareness course places for small and medium-sized businesses and the self-employed. BoB will also work with fellow construction charity The Lighthouse Club and partners on the Beacons campaign, which aims to increase the provision of, and access to, regional peer support groups

Know Your Wellbeing STATS

Peter Cape added that, as part of the campaign, the Big Brew will encourage tradespeople to remember their wellbeing STATS and support one another:

S – Support each other

T – Talk about it

A – Always ask twice

T – Take it seriously

S – Stop the cycle

He said: “Wellbeing STATS around mental health are vital, and we hope that the Big Brew will be a way for roofers to start opening up, even just a little bit, because we all need to do everything we can to start reversing the mental health crisis in the construction sector.”

You can support the Big Brew by visiting the BoB website

If you are struggling with any of the issues raised, there are services that can help. Please contact Samaritans on 116 123, or the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity’s 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline on 0345 605 1956.


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