Colorminium have been turning our attention to mental health in the workplace – supporting the industry led focus this week on ‘mental health week’ in Construction.
At any given time, across England and Wales, one worker in six is said to be experiencing depression, anxiety or other stress related problems. Assuming an industry population of 2.1 million people (6% of the UK workforce) that suggests 350,000 construction professionals may be affected.
Behind those numbers, of course, are individuals. Although dealing with mental ill health can feel isolating, a key takeaway is the fact that there’s always likely to be someone close by who is dealing with similar feelings or can help.
Colorminium have this year launched new occupational health initiatives to target and support our workers and have now given all direct employees access to a dedicated personalised health care benefit, a scheme that includes access to 24 hour support and confidential talking platforms targeted to mental health awareness and care. We have also partnered with an occupational health provider to offer Fit for Work assessments, which are accessible to all and include both physical and mental health initiatives.
So why are construction industry professionals so badly affected? It’s not too difficult to draw up a list of contributory factors. Pressure caused by the working patterns and demands of life in construction can exacerbate the impact on emotional health and wellbeing. In a sector with a high number of male workers, the specific risks associated for men and mental ill health cannot be ignored.
For men between the ages of 15 and 49 (who are typically part of the workforce) suicide is now the leading cause of death. And, of course, the toll is not just mental and physical – there’s an economic impact too. Mental health issues account for people taking almost 70 million days off sick per year – the most of any health condition – costing the UK economy between £70 billion and £100 billion a year2.
Here at Colorminium we will continue to develop and grow these initiatives, setting high expectations for the care of our people and most importantly getting people talking about the subject in an industry that has historically struggled to do so.