We should be talking about the 75,000 UK trade businesses currently impacted by a potential mental health issue
The conversation on workplace wellbeing has picked up in the past five years, as people are starting to consider the ways in which their job can impact their mental health. But as the ONS reports that the suicide rate among construction workers is three times the national average for men – equating to approximately two construction workers completing suicide every day – it’s time to address the specific needs of this group.
According to new research commissioned by Eureka!, 75,000 UK trade businesses are currently impacted by potential mental health issues, with 54% of respondents believing that mental health problems are ubiquitous for trades professionals, and a further 51% sharing that they knew someone in the trade who had been affected by mental health problems.
Considering the rise in problems, Eureka! highlighted that the demand on the workforce has risen exponentially in the past year and a half, as four in five homeowners are spending their money on improving their homes. But this peak comes during an already challenging time, where financial problems and pressure on the supply chain have caused an increase in the rates of stress and anxiety.
But despite its widespread effect, 69% of tradespeople said that there was still a stigma within the sector, surrounding seeking help for mental health problems – something which was pointed at as the reason behind a reluctance to speak to friends or family members.
How to talk to someone about mental health at work
- Talk to your GP first.
- Set your own boundaries.
- Confide in a colleague or HR instead.
- Think about what you need.
- Set up regular meetings/check-ins.
- Suggest wellbeing activities.
Read our full guide to talk about mental health at work.
One response to the problem comes from Fix Radio – a radio station dedicated to the trade – as they scheduled a mental health check-in day. With plans to shed light on the crisis to their audience of more than 400,000 tradespeople, the station will be discussing: the pressures tradespeople are facing in the upcoming months, how can businesses support the mental health of their employees, and why tradespeople struggle to discuss mental health-related issues.
But beyond that, more should be done to support the people in our own lives – something that often starts with understanding what prevents people from speaking up in the first place. While the number of women working in construction is rapidly increasing, the trade is overwhelmingly made up of men, who face unique challenges when it comes to mental health.
So consider the ways that you can support the people in your life, learn about the services that are out there to offer support, and never underestimate the power of a listening ear.
Need support? Connect with a counsellor using counselling-directory.org.uk