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Supporting your workers mental health this winter

As the cold, wet nights draw in earlier and the seasons change, most of us notice a dip in our mental health. This time of year can be difficult for many people, but with male construction workers being almost four times more likely to take their own life than any other profession, it’s clear that we, as an industry, need to look after our own. Unfortunately there is still a stigma when it comes to men discussing their mental health, so it is our duty as employers to ensure our staff feel supported to tackle issues such as low mood, anxiety and depression. When someone is struggling, it can be difficult to know what to do, so here are some things your business can do to support your employees:

  1. Keep a close eye on working hours
  2. Support stamp it out
  3. Encourage your team to talk
  4. Provide wellbeing training
  5. Assign a mental health first aider
  6. Provide resources

emotional-support-construction

 

  1. Keep a close eye on working hours

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance in this modern world is tough. Many mobile workers within the highways, construction and related industries work long hours away from home, in damp and cold conditions. It’s not easy working within these industries, so it’s important that we ensure our teams aren’t working over the working time directive. Long hours can lead to exhaustion and low mood, so we need to prevent our staff from feeling overworked by ensuring they have regular breaks, don’t work excessive hours and have interrupted rest time between shifts.

 

  1. Support Stamp It Out

The rate of abuse that highways workers receive from members of the public is alarmingly high and the issue is largely ignored by the government. Everyone deserves the right to feel safe and free from abuse while at work and workers within the highways industry should be no exception. As employers we should be supporting Safer Highways’ Stamp It Out campaign, familiarising ourselves with their Stamp It Out Strategy and report all incidents of road worker abuse. Reducing the amount of abuse that our highways workers receive while trying to do their jobs will be a sure fire way to improve their working conditions and improve their mental health.

 

  1. Encourage your team to talk

Ever heard the saying a problem shared is a problem halved? While talking may not instantly relieve your workers of symptoms of depression and low mood, it has been proven to reduce stress levels. Encouraging your workers to talk means that you can be more in the know about how people are feeling and create a safety net for those who are struggling. If you can identify someone who is struggling with their mental health, you can put yourself in a better position to support them. 

 

  1. Provide wellbeing training

Wellbeing training can be useful for people working in or managing teams who work in high pressure environments. It can help managers recognise the effects of stress and identify signs and triggers of stress within their teams. Wellbeing training can help provide structures and strategies that enable improved resilience and performance. 

 

  1. Assign a mental health first aider

You wouldn’t think twice about assigning someone as a first aider, so a mental health first aider should be no different. There are plenty of courses you can send your workers on to become an accredited mental health first aider who will be able to act in times of crisis while on a job. Mental health first aiders are trained to spot the signs and respond to the mental and physical health needs of a person experiencing a mental health issue.

 

  1. Provide resources

Opening up to people in your life can be difficult. There is a lot of shame and stigma surrounding depression, so people who are suffering may feel like they can’t share how they are feeling with their peers. That’s why it’s so important to share resources. There are plenty of free services with helplines for those who want to talk to someone impartial or separate from their own lives. Here is a list of charities that who are dedicated to helping those who are struggling with their mental health:

 

The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity

The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity are a charity who provide financial and emotional support to the construction community and their families. They have an industry helpline and provide various types of training related to mental health.

 

Mind

Mind are a mental health charity who provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Their website is full of resources geared towards those who are suffering and people wanting to support someone else.

 

Samaritans

Samaritans is a charity that helps those experiencing suicidal thoughts. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, you are encouraged to call their 24/7 helpline on 116 123 for support and a kind voice to talk to. 

 

CALM

CALM are the campaign against living miserably who are fighting against suicide. They offer a free helpline 365 days a year from 5pm-midnight. You can call them on 0800 58 58 58.

 

Be sure to also research local charities as well who offer support to people in your area. 

 

Download our guide to road worker safety

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