World Mental Health Day - break the stigma, break the silence

Jo Robson
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10th October every year. This year the World Federation for Mental Health has set the theme of suicide prevention.

Recent statistics have shown suicide to be the biggest killer of construction workers under the age of 45, with male site workers three times more likely to take their own life than the average male in the UK. This works out to more than one construction worker every day. These harrowing statistics serve as a reminder that we must prioritise our mental health, especially in the workplace where we spend a considerable amount of time.

In the UK, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem this year. Nine in ten people who have experienced a mental health problem have faced negative treatment from others as a result. And yet, despite the prevalence of mental illness in our country, considerable stigma still exists.

We probably all work with someone who is experiencing a mental health problem. The personal repercussions of this are significant and the struggle often happens in silence. You can help by encouraging open, honest conversations with your colleagues. It can be as simple as a ‘How are you?’ but then listening and responding empathically to the answer. If you’re the one being asked the question, challenge yourself to answer with how you’re really feeling and see what response you get, you may be surprised.

How Faithful+Gould is supporting Mental Health 

Supporting our clients - through the Pagabo Foundation

As the current Lot 1 provider on the Pagabo National framework for Professional Services in Construction and Premises, Jon Sealy, Faithful+Gould Managing Director UK and Europe has made a personal commitment to support the Pagabo Foundation.

The Foundation aims to open up conversations about mental health within the construction industry while educating as many people as possible and by raising awareness of how they can seek the help they might need. Through the foundation Pagabo will be offering financial support to SME’s and other organisations in need of advice and resources to provide a platform for greater future support for workers in the construction industry. Funding existing charities is also a key part of the Foundations aims. This funding can be accessed via the Pagabo website and we encourage those working in the public sector to take a look and share the information with their supply chains.

Supporting our staff

We want to be part of the change and are working to reduce stigma and assumptions surrounding mental health, especially within the construction industry. That's why we've re-signed the Time to Change Employer  Pledge. Time to Change is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination and is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Mental Health Policy

As part of our Time to Change pledge, we wanted to ensure all our relevant existing HR policies and procedures made particular reference to wellbeing and mental health. To go one step further, we’re also creating a specific mental health policy outlining our goals and responsibilities as individuals and as a business that supports good mental health.

We seek to build on the compassion and kindness of our people, encouraging everyone to look out for each other and to take the time to talk about mental health.

Line Manager Training

This year we rolled out a specific line manager webinar enabling them to hold open conversations with their team members about their wellbeing and helping to create a supportive culture for our people. 

We have also provided a library of case studies sharing colleague’s personal experiences in support of our time to change pledge to help break the stigma attached to mental health issues/ problems? and create a more inclusive environment.

Mental Health First Aiders

We have a network of over 100 Mental Health First Aiders who help to identify, understand and support anyone who may be developing a mental health issue and act as an initial point of confidential support.

24 Hour Support

Our Employee Assistance Programme also offers 24/7 support to anyone suffering with mental health issues, as well as informative webinars on a range of topics covering work and life relationships, stress, anxiety and depression, grief and loss, raising children, caring for elderly parents and much more.

 

We know it’s possible to stop preventable health issues arising by building a supportive culture around mental health. Our mental health should be a priority and we are committing to keep the conversation going and guiding behaviours across all levels of our business. We aim to provide easy access to up to date information and support to our staff who are experiencing mental problems, to help our line mangers to feel able to discuss mental health with their teams and to keep it high on the agenda of our senior leadership.

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