Virtual conference to address ‘silent crisis’ of poor mental health in construction

Ray Bone

POOR mental health in the construction sector needs ‘urgent action’, according to Association for Project Safety (APS) president-elect, Ray Bone.

Speaking ahead of the APS’s spring conference, Building the Future of Workplace Mental Health, Mr Bone said mental health issues were a hidden crisis affecting more lives than accidents and physical ill health.

Mr Bone, writing for the Construction Industry Council (CIC), called on the industry to address underlying issues contributing to workers becoming unwell and said poor working conditions could create ‘breeding grounds’ for mental health problems.

“Mental health problems can – and do – affect everyone: that is why I am delighted to present the Association for Project Safety’s spring conference, Building the Future of Workplace Mental Health,” Ray Bone said. “Poor mental health is a silent crisis in construction. There is still a culture where – despite many employers having forward-thinking programmes in place – too many people feel they have to put on a brave face when, really, they need to ask for help.

“People can be their own worst enemies, keeping problems bottled up. But the APS is going to tackle the issues head on, helping people recognise problems before they come to a head and to understand what they can do to help themselves and other people.”

The one-day online conference, to be held on May 12, will bring together specialists to provide insights that raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing within the construction industry. The programme aims to provide tools to improve overall wellbeing in the workplace and life in general and will look at:

  • Causes of stress and illness such as poor working conditions, bullying and working far from home
  • Addictive behaviours such as drinking, drug taking and gambling
  • Warning signs of mental health problems for both employers and workers
  • Coping techniques and ways of managing wellness; and
  • Sources of support as well as help tackling underlying triggers such as finance and debt

APS is partnering with Mates in Mind – the construction industry charity – and a donation will be going to them to help them carry on work across the sector. APS also supports the Lighthouse Club, a  specialist charity working in construction.