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Letter from Lesley - Why we're talking about mental health

11/10/2019 - 10:41AM

Everyone knows that mental health is tough to talk about. But at APS, during the week when World Mental Health Day has tried to make that conversation easier, we are determined to try. I am sure that there are some of you who really would like us to stop. But, just this once, it’s not something APS is going to listen to.

The construction industry has a problem with mental health. The sector sees a much higher than average proportion of its workers suffering from mental illnesses. And you can be sure that, for all the victims we know about, there are bound to be silent sufferers a-plenty.

Conversations about mental health can be challenging but it is vital to address this. One in four people in the UK will experience some kind of mental health problem (Mind), so you are every bit as likely to suffer from a mental illness as getting injured on site, probably more so.

And we need to build working environments where people who have mental illnesses are treated properly, compassionately and without discrimination. But we also need to tackle the causes.

A macho culture where bullying remains prevalent is thought to be an underlying factor in the construction industry’s poor record. The gender imbalance does not help. But there are many structural problems too: working away from friends and family for long stretches of time; money worries due to the uncertain nature of future work and the deplorable extended payment practices that continue to prevail; stress due to tight contractual deadlines and scare staff resources.

There is a lot to do and, over the coming year, APS will be focussing on how at both individual and institutional levels wellbeing can be promoted and improved. Let us know if there are particular subjects you want us to cover - just drop me (lesley.mcleod@aps.org.uk uk) a line.

Mental health is a wellbeing issue just like any other.APS will be making no apologies for highlighting its importance.

Resources

If you need advice, support or information about all aspects of mental health, whether you are an individual, an organisation or a business, visit our pages on the right. 

Source: APS

Embedding health as well as safety - part 1
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Embedding health as well as safety - part 2
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Fact sheet on health and wellbeing in construction
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