Thursday 13 January 2022
Mental Health in the Irish Construction Industry
Blue Monday, the third Monday in January is supposedly the saddest day of the year, due to a combination of bad weather, dark days and long nights. This year it falls on January 17th.
The reality is that any Monday, or any day of the week can be ‘blue’
Working in construction in particular can be challenging with long hours, tight deadlines, financial pressure and sometimes working away from home. All of these combined with personal circumstances such as moving house, bereavement, divorce and physical illness can take their toll on mental health.
The added of impact of Covid-19 which has created isolation and job uncertainty combined with the short days and cold weather in the winter can also make things really tough for those working in the industry.
A 2020 report by the CIF in partnership with the Construction Workers Sick Pay Fund, Laya Health and Spectrum Life found that while Irish construction companies acknowledge the importance of staff well-being, they recognised that managing mental health in the workplace remains challenging. 81% of employers report that employees’ mental health is a very sensitive issue and difficult to address. Of the construction companies surveyed, 68% believe the construction sector has a serious issue with staff under reporting issues with their mental health in the workplace. Even when things seem desperate, there is help available though. Sometimes just having someone to talk to can make a difference and there are also a number of places where you get practical help and advice. If you are feeling in need of help, the following services are available:
Free confidential support services
The Construction Industry Helpline
The Construction Industry Helpline provides a 24/7 safety net for all construction workers and their families throughout Ireland. It is a charitable service funded by the industry, for the industry and provides advice on occupational health and mental wellbeing as well as emergency financial aid to construction families in crisis and support on legal, tax and debt management matters
The helpline is funded by The Lighthouse Club which has been delivering charitable welfare and support to the construction community since 1956
Contact: 1800 939 122
Or download the ‘Construction Industry Helpline’ app which offers expert advice and guidance on a huge range of mental, physical and financial wellbeing issues.
For more information on the Lighthouse Club, the Construction Industry Charity, visit: https://www.lighthouseclub.org/
The Samaritans aims to provide emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout Ireland and Great Britain. Their helpline is free to call any time (24/7) from any phone. They offer a safe place to talk without judging or telling you what to do, they will listen to you.
Freephone 116 123 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pieta House provides a professional one-to-one therapeutic service to people who are in suicidal distress, those who engage in self-harm, and those bereaved by suicide. There services are free of charge and do not require a referral.
www.pieta.ie Freephone 1800 247 247 Text HELP to 51444
Aware is the national organisation providing free support, education and information services to those impacted by anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and related mood conditions. Select an option below to find out more about the organisation.
Aware.ie Freephone 1800 80 48 48 (from 10am - 10pm) or email: email@example.com
The Health Services Executive offers a text-based mental health service. ‘50808’ is a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through mental health or emotional crisis.
For free 24/7 support in a crisis, free text ‘HELLO’ to 50808.
Employer advice, support and resources
Employee mental health and wellbeing is beginning to get the attention it clearly deserves, with organisations starting to consider it in the same regard as onsite worker safety. As an employee you can ask your manager or HR department about any support that your employer has put in place to help support mental health. For employers and managers in the construction industry, the following resources could be useful in providing employee support and promoting mental well-being in the workplace.
The Construction Industry Federation
The CIF has developed a Safety, Health and Wellbeing Calendar for 2022 to address the key focus areas for construction for the forthcoming year. The calendar endeavours to provide an itinerary of key diary events for each calendar month to reflect national and international campaigns for safety, health and wellbeing. The CIF will provide toolbox talk materials and/or videos for each topic, which may be downloaded from the webpage to assist in communications.
The Lighthouse Club, the Construction Industry Charity is the only charity that is 100% dedicated to the mental, physical and financial wellbeing of construction workers and their families in Ireland and in the UK. The mission of the charity is that no construction worker or their family should feel alone in a crisis. The charity achieves that mission through the delivery of a variety of free and easily accessible resources to support the construction community, including:
- FREE Mental Health First Aid Training - https://www.lighthouseclub.org/mental-health-first-aid-training/
- FREE Construction Industry Helpline App - https://www.constructionindustryhelpline.com/app.html
- For more information, visit: https://www.lighthouseclub.org/
‘Build Health’ is a joint initiative between the CIF, Laya Healthcare and Spectrum Life that can support both employers and employees in the sector. The mental health and wellbeing support programme offer resources to leaders in the sector and the 24/7 Mental Health Support Programme offers invaluable and confidential help and advice to those who need it. For more details, see attached or visit the CIF Build Health
This is a Government-led initiative aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of everyone living in Ireland, provides a range of support materials which can be accessed at the website,Website: www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/together
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