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Industry call for mental health pledge as rare survey reveals true feelings of onsite construction workers

Causeway Technologies has launched a campaign urging construction firms to prioritise mental health provisions in contract conditions, following a survey revealing that 56% of construction workers are grappling with mental health issues, including suicidal thoughts.

Construction businesses were called on to pledge greater support for mental health at the launch of a major lobbying campaign at Frameless in London on Wednesday 22 November 2023. The campaign, which is being led by Causeway Technologies, will ask for mental health provision to be included in Health & Safety and Social Value procurement conditions in construction contracts.

At the event, Causeway revealed the results of a unique industry survey of 1,439 construction site workers, which show that 56% are currently experiencing or have experienced mental health problems including anxiety and depression.

12% of respondents said they had experienced or were experiencing suicidal thoughts.

The survey was conducted by Causeway’s mental health ambassador Trevor Steven – ex- England and Everton football player – who visited sites up and down the country between May 2022 and September 2023.

While most surveys in the sector tend to be completed by office-based employees, Causeway’s approach has been to use the subject of football to encourage construction workers to open up about their mental health. Crucially, this includes labourers and site- based workers who very rarely complete questionnaires.

As a result, the vast majority of respondents were employed full time or self-employed trades and subcontracted staff on site.

“Shockingly, we are still losing on average two construction workers to suicide every working day,” Trevor said. “Studies have shown that male site workers are disproportionately affected by mental health issues. However, they are often deemed the most vulnerable but hardest- to-reach demographic in the construction industry.

“We need to do more than just hanging a few signs up around sites. Mental health needs to be approached in the same way as health and safety – which is why we are asking businesses to step up and pledge to provide greater and more meaningful support.”

In addition to the pledge, Causeway will lead a political lobbying campaign that will call for mental health provision to be part of the Health & Safety and Social Value procurement conditions for future construction contracts.

Causeway CEO Phil Brown explained: “We have seen some encouraging signs that businesses are engaging with mental health at an industry level and we are grateful to the progressive businesses that have worked with us to help complete the survey. However, the industry’s mental health crisis still shows little sign of abating and we need to approach the issue from multiple directions.

“Mental health is the true health and safety crisis in construction today. That’s why we are proposing that mental health be an integral part of future construction contracts.” The full results of the mental health survey will be published at www.causeway.com

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