A survey of 3,400 tradesmen has recently revealed that mental illness within the construction industry is becoming a real issue.
The survey, conducted by Randstad, found that in the past year, 34% of tradesmen had experienced a mental illness. And, more than a quarter responded that their mental health had resulted in them considering a career change.
Alongside this, Randstad’s research also revealed that instead of seeking help, one-fifth of workers were turning to drink and cigarettes in order to self-medicate.
However, there were also indications that discussions of mental health could soon improve within the industry. It was found that young people were more likely to speak to someone about their mental health. This is in comparison to the older generations of construction workers who found it harder to open up about it.
One young bricklayer, Sam Jones, shared his experience of mental health issues with us here at On The Tools. He stressed the need to be open about your mental health and speak to someone about it. He described: “I find that when you bottle things up inside you can’t keep it all in.”
“It gets too much.”
Take a look at Sam’s full story here.
Data from the National Office for Statistics also supports the need for mental health to be addressed in the construction industry. It found that between 2011 and 2015, 1,419 workers in skilled trades committed suicide. This is ten times higher than people working in other sectors such as health and social care!
Following this, experts have now warned that the long hours, job insecurity and isolation associated with working in construction, is having a direct negative impact on worker’s mental health.
This is also supported by additional research conducted by mental health charity Samaritans. It found that suicide actually kills more construction workers than falls! Take a look at the full report here.
The Assistant General Secretary of construction union Unite stated: “Mental health problems concerning construction workers are incredibly high.”
“If untreated or unacknowledged this can have tragic consequences.”
“The way in which the construction industry operates directly affects the mental health of workers.”
“Factors that affect the mental health of workers include low and inconsistent pay, lack of job security, working away from home, mental health stigma, isolation and poor working conditions.”
“The problem in construction is exacerbated as there remains a taboo about talking about mental health issues.”
So what do you think of this? Should more be done to protect the mental health of workers? Let us know in the comments below.