Improving Northern Ireland construction workers’ mental wellbeing

Improving Northern Ireland construction workers’ mental wellbeing

The charity Mates in Mind has announced it will be delivering a series of educational sessions in a bid to improve mental wellbeing amongst Northern Ireland’s construction workforce.

The issue of mental ill-health in the UK construction sector is a significant concern, with over a third of workers having experienced some condition in the past year. Almost a quarter of workers consider leaving the industry due to mental health-related problems, which is exacerbated by a prevailing belief that employers are neither able to recognise or address these problems1. Furthermore, the UK construction industry suffers from rates of suicide that are higher than any other industry sector.

Working to address this, the Health in Construction Leadership Group and IOSH (NI) have been instrumental in bringing Mates in Mind to Northern Ireland — in collaboration with the Workplace Health Leadership Group (NI) and working with delivery partner, Inspire Knowledge and Leadership.

CITB(NI) are providing initial funding for this kick start initiative, and offering: 20 half-day training sessions, a two-day mental health first aid training course that will lay the foundations for improving mental health and two sessions specifically tailored for board members. Upon completion of the sessions, delegates will also have access to 24/7 telephone counselling support.

As a result, a cross section of around 400 people in Northern Ireland’s construction sector will be provided with the information, tools and techniques to spot the signs of poor mental health and learn how to guide their colleagues towards appropriate support.

Announcing the launch, Joscelyne Shaw, Executive Director of Mates in Mind, said: “Today marks an important step for the Northern Ireland construction sector as it looks to tackle the stigma associated with poor mental health. This is achieved by creating a culture built on an understanding of what good mental health looks like.

“As a result of the generous funding provided by CITB(NI) and the efforts of our collaborators, we can now start the process of opening up the subject of mental health with conversations that can make a crucial difference to so many people’s lives”.

  1. Randstad; Mental Health Foundation; Office of National Statistics.

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