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Mental Health

Suicide is the construction industry’s hidden killer

From 2010 – 2015, there were more suicides within construction than any other profession, as reported by The Office for National Statistics. In this period 1,409 men and 10 women took their own lives.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 and male construction workers are three times more likely to commit suicide than the average male in the UK. As stated in an article on TheHRDirector.

Suicide is killing six times more workers than falls on construction sites. It really is the deadliest profession.

Why is there a crisis?

The male population makes up 75% of suicides in the UK according to an article on Harvey Lawrence. Considering the construction industry is male-dominated it’s not surprising the rate is higher.

With some of society still perceiving men as ‘weak’ if they show emotion and being told “boys don’t cry”, it is easy to see why there is a crisis. Especially among males working in construction.

Play your part

The construction industry does a brilliant job of improving physical safety, through 5-point PPE, health and safety audits and analysis of near misses, trips slips and falls. However, it is fair to say from looking at the facts and statistics above that workers are more likely to be walking around sites thinking about their mental state, not getting injured.

Society’s perception of mental health has improved dramatically in recent times, but the construction industry is still struggling and more can be done. Here are some signs to look for that someone may be struggling.
• Not fulfilling responsibilities as usual and regular absence
• Not wanting to be with work colleagues or participate in discussions
• A visible increase in alcohol consumption
• Extreme fluctuations in mood and behaviour
• Evident decrease in job performance

If anyone demonstrates any of these traits, pull them to one side and ask them how they are. Simply asking someone how they are feeling could save their life. If someone does confide in you, don’t try to fix the problem. Create a non-judgmental atmosphere, don’t criticise or blame them and most importantly, listen to the individual.

We’re ready to help

83% of workers think there is not enough information or help on offer. At Van Elle, we are ready to help tackle the crisis and the shocking statistics.

Our HSQE Advisor, Angela Blakesley recently gained a qualification from MHFA England to deliver their 2-day Mental Health First Aid course.

Angela reflects on the first Mental Health First Aid course. “Thanks to our staff for an amazing 2 days, training them as Mental Health First Aiders. I feel exceptionally proud that we have such a caring workforce, who want to help reduce the stigma attached to mental health”.

Help and support

Are you struggling or do you know someone who is? If so please get in touch with one of the helplines on the graphic below.

It’s OK not to be OK.

How you can make a difference

If you’re interested in becoming a qualified Mental Health First Aider contact one of our team on 01773 304060.

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