As we continue to support Mental Health Awareness Week, we felt it was a good time to talk about we are doing at The Shore Group to support not only our colleagues, but our contractors and clients too. As a business working with the construction industry, a traditionally male dominated industry and one in which construction workers are six times as likely to die from suicide than they are a fall from height, mental health is a
conversation that we want to keep talking about. There are many suggestions as to why construction has higher than average rates of suicide. The fact that it is a male dominated increases the risk immediately, with 75% of people who take their own lives in the UK being men. However, women are diagnosed almost twice as often with mental ill health conditions like anxiety.
It’s too simplistic to say that the reason for this is that women are willing to share their problems and men tend to bottle them up. But it is true that, for generations, many societies have encouraged men to be “strong” and not admit they’re struggling. And in male dominated environments there is still huge stigma around admitting that you have a problem. How can you possibly admit to your manager high pressure environment that you are struggling? Where do you go for support? What if you need to book a counselling appointment during the day? The solution is of course a complex one, with no two situations ever being the same. However, as an employer of almost 85 staff, we know that the best thing we can do as a start point is to create an environment where talking about mental health is normalised, and employees are is an official supporter of Mates in Mind – a charity that aims to raise awareness, address the stigma of poor mental health and improve positive mental wellbeing in construction and related industries across the UK. It does this by providing education and support to employers to break the stigma within their own organisations, and encourages them to start the conversation about mental health with their workers.
Practically this means we are able to offer our employees and contractors free resources that they can use if they want support with their mental health. We are also able to support our teams and contractors with discounted rates for counselling through a recommended scheme of qualified counsellors accredited by Mates in Mind. This is just the start of the work we are doing to open up the conversation around mental health and wellbeing, and our partnership with Mates in Mind is a valuable part of that work.