This morning the Gregg Latchams Construction Breakfast welcomed leading guest speaker Nick Elston to discuss the fundamental issue of mental health in the construction industry.
Mental Health in the Workplace
Cecily Donoghue, Employment solicitor, at Gregg Latchams introduced the session by explaining why mental health at work is important. Regardless of whether your business produces goods or provides services, staff are an integral factor in operating a successful business. Naturally, their mental health and well being will form an important factor in the success of the business and this is often overlooked.
From the business’ perspective there are productivity and cost consequences when employee’s suffer from poor mental health, but the impact on the individual themselves can be the most damaging.
Mental Health in Construction
Nick, went on to discuss #talkinganxiety and the impact of mental health in the construction industry in particular. Construction is a male dominated, “macho” image environment which naturally tends itself to isolated working and long physical hours which can often lead to poor mental health. With suicide being the biggest cause of death in men under the age of 35 and the cost to the economy of £70-100 billion, the need for change is clear.
Nick shared some practical steps to ensure success “the best initiatives at work don’t involve money, the ones that are fun and encourage inclusion are the ones that work”. Nick explained how preparation is key: “if you haven’t prepared to respond or deal with a situation when it arises, the blindsided shock will create anxiety”. He spoke about the simple practical steps businesses can take to increase communication and engagement with staff (think video). He advised not to approach mental health as a tick box exercise and don’t forget to support those ambassadors internally who are trying to promote mental wellbeing.
The construction industry needs to consider its environment and culture, and look at reframing mental health to ensure that progress is made. Nick was incredibly engaging and provided real insight and honesty from his own personal experiences. Whilst speaking about mental health forms part of Nick’s own ongoing recovery, we were all extremely grateful for the insights and honest approach to such a fundamental issue which needs to be tackled.
- Nick will be speaking at Ashton Gate stadium tomorrow 9th May 2019 and click here to register to attend.
- With Mental Health Awareness week fast approaching next week (13-17th May) if your business would like to discuss how to support mental health in the workplace, please contact our Employment team.
- For any Construction queries, please don’t hesitate to contact our Construction team.
The next construction breakfast will be on June 4 2019 with Jez Sweetland, Project Director for Bristol Housing Festival, sign up here to attend.