Down to Earth are a non profit organisation which help people who have been through traumatic and mental illnesses. They attempt this by encouraging them to take part in practical, educational and community based activities.

Therefore, some patients on day release from low secure mental health facilities, have got to experience life on site. One individual, Paul, has been on the construction site five times now. He has really enjoyed learning new skills stating: “it makes me feel better.”

“I feel like I’ve done something worthwhile.”

His occupational therapist describes that it is also a huge benefit to the entire group to gain experience like this. “I’ve really seen an improvement in confidence in the guys since they’ve been here.”

Alan Gee, another member of the Down to Earth programme, describes how working on site has changed his life. A few years ago, the fifty six year old father fell from a height. He landed head first onto concrete. This resulted in him fracturing his head in twelve different places!

Less than two weeks later though, he was discharged from hospital. However, that was not the end of his recovery. He then also had to deal with the consequences of his injury. Mood swings, memory loss, fatigue and slow mental processing. After a year of lying on the sofa, highly dosed on painkillers, he was referred to Down to Earth.

“It’s like coming in and having an arm put around you and saying it’s alright. People understood. A lot of people with serious brain injury become defined by it.”

“People stick them in a box. Projects like this get you out of that box. You become the new you – you don’t have to be the ‘brain injury person.'”

So, what do you think? How important do you think the construction industry is? Let us know in the comments below.