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Speedy Hire spotlights mental health

13 May 2024

Speedy Hire spotlights mental health

Starting today, Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 13 to 19 May and Speedy Hire is highlighting key issues for promoting and maintaining good mental health, as well as measures it has introduced to support people.

While workplace stress is not unique to the construction industry, a sobering statistic is that males in the sector are three times more likely to commit suicide than those in other professions, and a quarter of construction employees in the UK have considered taking their own lives, according to data from the Chartered Institute of Building.

Charities operating in this area have seen a rise in those accessing their services. The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, which provides emotional, physical and financial wellbeing support to the construction community and their families, saw 4,435 people reach out for support in 2023, a 30% increase on the previous year. While it is a positive sign that more people are seeking help when needed, it is also important that the industry works together in preventing mental health issues reaching a critical stage.

Speedy Hire says that employers have a role to play in ensuring that mental health and wellbeing are looked after in the workplace, just as much as an employee’s physical safety is. The company believes that, as the construction industry lags behind other sectors in terms of addressing mental health, employers must go beyond surface-level support that simply ticks a box.

One key Speedy Hire initiative is the Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) training it provides. Through the Lighthouse Charity, the business has trained 90 of its team members to become MHFAs who play a vital role in raising visibility within the team of the support available and reducing stigma on a peer level.

For some who have witnessed the devastating consequences of poor mental health in the construction industry, the MHFA role is about trying to pre-empt and prevent mental health deterioration. Mark Russell, Speedy Hire’s Regional Manager, chose to become an MHFA following the loss of a team member to suicide.

“After he had passed, I questioned myself for a long time if there was something more that I could have done or was there something that I missed," said Mark. "Becoming an MHFA has given me some tools that could possibly help prevent the same happening to someone else in the future.”

Speedy Hire has donated a new vehicle (pictured) to boost resources for the Lighthouse Charity’s #MakeItVisible on-site initiative which is visiting sites around the UK and Ireland to engage with construction workers to raise awareness of the resources and support available, and to provide opportunities to speak with the team on a one-on-one basis.

Sarah Bolton, CEO at the Lighthouse Charity says: “Effective tackling of the issues around mental health requires meaningful collaboration with companies across our industry. Construction workers deserve access to supportive channels and resources made available to them by their employers and to feel uninhibited to seek guidance and help when needed.

“Our long-standing partnership with Speedy Hire is a great example of how organisations in the construction industry can make a real impact in the lives of its family of employees and build a positive, open culture that fosters life changing and lifesaving impacts.”

Speedy Hire Chief Commercial Officer, Asif Latief, is also driving cross-industry conversations around mental health through the United for Mental Strength initiative. The initiative brings together all players in the sector to collaborate on raising awareness and supporting mental wellbeing as an industry. By having leaders demonstrate it is okay to talk about mental health, Speedy Hire is also changing workplace culture from the top down.

The company says that promoting the mental health support that is available should obviously be given high priority year-round. However, as an overwhelming majority of workers (89%) don’t know how to access such support, campaigns like Mental Health Awareness Week provide a good opportunity to bring mental health to the forefront of the business and enable people to begin their journey towards positive mental health.

Speedy Hire says that education plays a large role in this. Simple yet effective activities like lunch-and-learn sessions, MHFA recruitment drives, talks from The Lighthouse Club, as well as myth-busting quiz activities help to embed mental health in the conversation and enable team members to realise they are not alone.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, reach out for free and confidential support now on the 24/7 Construction Industry Helplines 0345 605 1956 (UK), 1800 939 122 (ROI), via live live chat at lighthouseclub.org constructionindustryhelpline.com, or text HARDHAT to 85258 (UK) and 50808 (ROI).

● The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 is ‘Movement: Moving more for our mental health’. Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, the initiative wants to help people to find moments for movement in their daily routines. This could be going for a walk in your neighbourhood, putting on your favourite music and dancing around the living room, or even chair exercises when you’re watching television, says the organisation.


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