It’s never nice delivering bad news but sometimes harsh realities are inescapable and in the case of mental health, necessary.
Randstad revealed the results of a survey we conducted of 3,400 construction workers about their mental health. The findings are startling and highlight the growing problem the industry faces in creating a healthy and sustainable workforce.
We found that more than a third (34%) of construction workers have experienced a mental health condition in the last year and almost a quarter of those surveyed said their mental health was making them consider a career change.
Women suffering more than men.
One of our aims - and the sector’s in general - is to attract more women at all levels. But in order to do that we must first of all address why 46% of our female respondents said they were currently suffering from a mental illness, a higher proportion than men.
Our data showed that rather than seek help, one fifth of workers are turning to alcohol and cigarettes to self-medicate and have increased their drinking and smoking as a result of their mental state.
This statistic is particularly troubling given the health concerns this behaviour can lead to.
Signs of improvement.
There are, however, signs that things could improve. Younger people are more likely than ever to discuss their mental health especially compared to the older generation of construction workers who, according to our survey, find it difficult to open up.
Last month, the charity Mind reported that three quarters of line managers feel confident supporting a team member.
That’s a step in the right direction if we are to foster an environment where men and women of all ages can discuss their mental health and admit they may need help.
We encourage employers to look at what type of assistance and support programmes they provide their workforce and through our association with the Lighthouse Club charity provide a 24-hour helpline for those in need.
One in four people in the UK will suffer a mental illness at some point but if workplaces become more and open and supportive we can bring about positive change.
*Randstad partners the Lighthouse Club charity, which provides financial and emotional support to the construction community. Their 24-hour helpline number is 03456051956.