CONSTRUCTION group Stonewood is struggling with an outdated macho image of construction sites and encourages its employees to talk about issues that could cause stress and anxiety.
During Mental Health Awareness Week, there were a series of on-site visits, seminars and lectures to let staff know that they could open up things that worry them and that there will be someone to listen.
Shane Andrews, construction director for Earthstone Construction, said that although the visits were timed to a mental health awareness week, the company places high priority on mental health throughout the year.
Mr Andrews, who leads the group’s mental health initiative, said: .
“Things are getting better, but there are still problems with employees who find it difficult or uncomfortable to express their feelings. As a group, we really want to promote that it’s good to talk, and if there’s a problem, things can be better if you share it, and we want to create an environment where people feel safe. ”
The group signed a charter proposed by the construction industry charity, the Building Mental Health initiative at Lighthouse Club.
It is committed to providing awareness and understanding of the impact of poor mental health, reducing stigma and discrimination, and promoting conversation in the workplace.
She appointed four mental health first aid providers and trained them to provide help and guide support staff in their communities. The company also produced hi-vis jackets for workers with the 24-hour hotline The Lighthouse Club Time To Change – 0345 6051956.
“We went through our site, held seminars and put up posters to let people know that help was available,” Mr Andrews said.
“We did it in a week of mental health awareness, but it’s not just one week, it’s something we feel strongly about and want to talk about all year.”
He said the ethos of family business teamwork means that everyone is considered important, no matter what their role.
“We don’t want our boys to be just a number, we want to know them all as best we can,” he said.
“We have 65 employees in Earthstone and I know all their names. It’s not easy, but we are proud of the personal approach we strive to provide to everyone. ”
He said assessment is an opportunity to discuss personal and professional circumstances and identify issues that could cause anxiety or stress.
“Whenever someone starts here, I meet with him as part of his introduction to talk about things like health and safety standards, but also mental health,” he said.
A charity spokesman said: “Every construction day, two construction workers take their own lives. We need to educate everyone in our industry to recognize the signs and symptoms of our colleagues who are suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, and to start a conversation to help them heal. ”
Learn more at buildingmentalhealth.net and lighthouseclub.org.