Construction workers share mental health experiences
The introduction of CN’s Mind Matters campaign has drawn a great response from the industry. Workers in the industry have shared their experiences which are hugely beneficial for the campaign aiming to tackle high male depression and anxiety impacting their well-being as well as the economy.
Working in the construction industry can lead to many workers feeling stressed, this can also have an effect on their personal life. As the industry is very demanding, when things go wrong this can have a huge psychological effect on their wellbeing. “The construction industry is made up of 2.1 million people in the UK, that’s 6% of the UK workforce. In England & Wales, 1 in 6 workers has experienced depression, anxiety or other stress related problems. This suggests that 350,000 construction workers may be affected. This was a study carried out by the Office of National Statistics in 2009.” (Information obtained from https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/mental-health-and-wellbeing)
So why are construction industry professionals badly affected?
The construction industry is a very demanding workplace not just for workers but also managers. The pressures caused by the working patterns and demands can have a huge impact on emotional health and wellbeing. As the construction industry is male dominated, there is additional pressure on workers to comply with male stereotypes which often expect men to deal with issues without asking for help, causing them a great deal of stress.
“The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male.”
This doesn’t just impact them mentally and physically, it leads to an economic effect as well. “Issues caused by mental health is responsible for people taking off 70 million days off sick per year, the most for any health condition. This is costing the UK economy 70 billion and 100 billion a year.” ( Information obtained from https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/mental-health-and-wellbeing)
Workers at all levels provided feedback that will benefit the campaign’s success:
“Generally being stressed out in construction is considered to be the norm. There is a perception that if you are not stressed you are not busy enough.”
“I am very happy in my current role; however, I continue to suffer from depression and anxiety in my personal life. If I ever feel down at work currently I do my best to hide this and tend to stay quiet.”
“Any mistake I make, no matter how small, seems so incredibly big and it’s very difficult to get past it. I go home feeling depressed, can’t sleep and think about it for days afterwards. The feeling keeps getting deeper and the problem keeps seeming bigger.”
“In our industry we work long, draining days. It takes a long time to switch off and even when you’re asleep your head is still racing. This is not healthy.”
“I have worked with several people who have suffered mental health issues as a result of stress and other factors either at home or the workplace. In one case a man committed suicide.”
There are many support groups being introduced into the construction industry to help workers deal with any issues they may have. Here are a few charities and support groups to help you or anyone you know dealing with stress at work: