Mental Health First Aiders, why does our industry need you?
The Construction industry is one of the largest workforces in the UK accounting for 7% of the Overall workforce. Employing over 2.4 million people, nevertheless, has one of the highest suicide rates. Male construction workers are almost three times more likely to take their own life than the national male average. 13.2% of the recorded 13,232 suicides by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) were construction workers.
The construction industry is a very challenging and stressful career due to factors including low pay, long hours, working away from homes for extended periods of time, uncertain workloads, difficult work/ life balance and little job security. These factors can prove difficult for anyone. However, being in a male dominated, ‘Macho’ industry it can often be difficult for these males to show how much they are struggling. Due to the excessive amount of stigma that goes along with men with mental health problems, “82% of construction workers” identify this stigma, causing 30% of construction workers to take time off work due to mental health issues including stress with only 37% admitted this was their reason for their absence, 72% of respondents explain employers don’t recognise signs of mental health and over half explained that they don’t receive the appropriate support. As a way of dealing with stress, construction Workers often turn to alcohol and smoking, leading to more health problems.
Our Mental Health First Aider Course
The 2 day mental health first aider course is a recognised MHFA course and aims to increase confidence in identifying signs and supporting employees suffering with their mental health, remove stigma and educate others of the signs so that everyone can be aware and offer valuable support to create a healthy, supportive and encouraging environment.
The role of Mental Health First Aider is to be the first point of contact for any employee experiencing a mental health issue or is emotionally distressed. This could be through something as small as having a conversation with the aim of supporting the person to get appropriate help. Mental health first aiders are also trained in what to do during a crisis, through providing early intervention help for someone who may be developing a mental health issue.
- Spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health
- Start a supportive conversation with a colleague who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress
- Listen to the person non-judgementally
- Assess the risk of suicide or self-harm
- Encourage the person to access appropriate professional support or self-help strategies. This might include encouraging access to internal support systems such as EAPs or in-house
- counselling services
- If necessary, Escalate to the appropriate emergency services,
- Maintain confidentiality as appropriate
- Complete critical incident documents as and when necessary − Protect themselves while performing their role
As a mental health first aider you must remember you aren’t trained to be a therapists or psychiatrists, you are there to offer initial support through non-judgemental listening and guidance. To be a good mental health first aider you must also look after your own mental health too.
Support from Charities
If you or a colleague require support now and don’t feel comfortable talking about this at work, there are charities available to offer immediate and confidential support.
If you want to start a conversation with your workforce, but don’t know how, we are available to come to your premises and deliver mental health toolbox talk. With the aim to address mental health and ensure that employees feel comfortable and supported if they would like to talk, it also shows that as a company you care about your employee’s health.