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Thursday 2 February was Time to Talk Day in the UK, created by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. The day aims to raise awareness and create supportive communities by encouraging people to have conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health. We all have mental health and by opening up space to talk about it, we can support ourselves and each other.
Talking about mental health can have the power to change and save lives. Research by Mind shows that almost half (46%) of respondents said that their reason for starting fewer conversations is that everyone is struggling right now, and they don't want to burden others.
1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year. However, the statistics in the construction industry are even more concerning. In 2017, a report conducted by Randstad showed that 34% of construction workers surveyed have experienced a mental health condition in the last 12 months. The cost of mental ill-health cannot be ignored. In fact, suicide rates amongst construction workers are more than three times higher than the national average.
Every day, 1 in 6 people experience depression, anxiety and stress in the workplace. According to our mental health charity partner, Mates in Mind, change in demeanor is the most common way to spot that someone might be struggling with their mental health. Some examples might be:
• Trouble sleeping and tiredness
• Running late to work and meetings
• Drop in quality of work
• Withdrawal from work and coworkers
• Becoming more reserved or upbeat than usual
At Peldon Rose, we know that it’s important to encourage the conversation all year round. Our Employee Assistance Programme means our people have round-the-clock support and access to mental health services. Since partnering with Mates in Mind in June 2022, we hold regular seminars on our sites and in the office to raise awareness and encourage our network to talk to each other about their mental health.
Mates in Mind work within the construction industry to raise awareness and provide tools to tackle the stigma that still exists around mental health problems. To support our employees’ mental well-being and in honour of Time to Talk Day 2023, we invited Mates in Mind to Sterling House to hold seminars, so that we can learn more about mental health at work and where you can go for help in a crisis.
The seminars covered why someone might feel under pressure at work, offered advice about the ways to approach someone who may be struggling, and shared where you can turn to for help. Also on Time to Talk Day, we provided lunch to all of our staff and contractors working on site to bring them together and facilitate conversation.
Many people at Peldon Rose work primarily on site, whether full or part-time. Therefore, we recognise that we have a responsibility to address the issues that affect construction workers in particular, and are committed to creating an environment that our site teams feel safe to talk about their mental health in. We know there’s no silver bullet, but with the help of organisations like Mates in Mind, we’ll continue to find new ways to support our people.