Breaking Taboos Around Mental Health
Mental health challenges can affect anyone at any time, and statistics show that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any given year*.
Mental Health Awareness Week took place 13th - 19th May 2019, and we at Space Engineering Services marked the event with a series of initiatives to increase understanding around mental health, particularly among our Engineering teams, and break the taboo around talking about mental wellbeing. Mental ill health in the construction industry continues to be stigmatised and we need to change this. A recent report** revealed that suicide rates in construction are 3.7 times higher than any other industry.
Talking about mental health challenges can be difficult, but encouraging conversations among colleagues is a vital step towards improving mental wellbeing. To help support our colleagues, we are delivering a Tool Box Talk to our Engineers that focuses on common forms of mental ill health and some practical advice on how to start conversations about it with others. Throughout the week, all of our employees received messages about the importance of being open to having conversations about mental health to help create a supportive, caring workplace culture for everyone. We also randomly selected 100 colleagues from across our company to complete a mental health and wellbeing survey, the anonymous results of which will help us understand where we can improve the mental health support we offer.
Dale Nouch, Managing Director, commented on how the company is continuously working towards reducing ill health among employees. “Space Engineering Services’ commitment to health and safety extends beyond the physical safety of those we employ and those affected by our work. We know that mental health challenges can be just as debilitating as physical ill health, but often go unnoticed in the workplace, which is something we’re trying to change. We already have an employee assistance line that offers advice and support on a wide range of matters which can contribute to mental ill health, like financial difficulties and stress, that’s open round the clock and accessible online too. Our activities that coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week provided additional information and useful tips on supporting colleagues that might be affected by mental ill health.”
Mental Health Awareness Week is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation with this year’s theme being body image. For more information, visit their website
* McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.
** ‘Suicide by occupation: England: 2011-15’, Office of National Statistics, 2017