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Mates in Mind now fully available

Mates in Mind

Construction industry welcomes full roll-out of initiative to improve the health and well-being of its workforce 

YESTERDAY (11 September) marked the next key step in the UK construction sector’s efforts to improve the health and mental well-being of its workforce as it welcomed the full roll-out of the Mates in Mind initiative.

Mates in Mind (www.matesinmind.org) has led in the creation of a flexible and joined-up approach that is tailored to the needs of individual construction companies as they seek to tackle poor mental health whilst also nurturing positive mental well-being among their workforce.

The programme is being delivered to the UK construction industry in support of the Health in Construction Leadership Group and in partnership with a number of industry representatives and mental health charities.

Key to its success is breaking the silence and stigma that can surround mental health in society in general and the construction sector in particular by promoting a culture of positive well-being.

According to Health and Safety Executive figures, 18% of reported work-related illnesses in the UK construction industry are the result of mental health problems, such as stress, depression or anxiety – accounting for 400,000 working days lost each year.

Furthermore, industry data show that 55% of construction workers had experienced mental health issues whilst 42% are living with these issues at their current workplace. Construction deaths from suicide are also believed to be potentially 10 times higher than that of fatal accidents at work.

Central to the Mates in Mind framework is providing construction firms with a joined-up approach to mental health, from support to employees, line managers and the organization, through to a tiered training framework developed in collaboration with various bodies such as the British Safety Council, Mind and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England.

This builds understanding, knowledge and confidence among all workers throughout the business, so that they can get the help they need and also identify colleagues who could benefit from further support.

Commenting on the further roll-out of Mates in Mind, Steve Hails, chair of the Mates in Mind board and director of health, safety and well-being at Tideway, said it marked the culmination of several months of hard work and would not have been possible without the substantial help of key mental health charities and its championing by industry representatives.

‘Mates in Mind represents a meaningful way forward for tackling mental ill health in the workplace whilst also encouraging a positive well-being culture. Uniquely, this approach offers flexibility that enables a business to tailor the resources to their needs so that priorities can be more effectively targeted. In doing so, it should be possible to start making serious progress into an issue that is currently the source of much needless pain for so many,’ he commented.

Josceylene Shaw, executive director of Mates in Mind, added: ‘As we all know, there is no health without mental health. The construction industry’s championing of Mates in Mind sends a strong message about the role workplaces can play in supporting workers’ mental well-being and helps to demonstrate their commitment to leading the way in managing this important issue, both to their staff and society more broadly.’

Simon Grey, director of health and safety with Tarmac – one of the founding partners of the Mates in Mind initiative, said: ‘As part of our commitment to our Health and Well-being programme, mental well-being is as important to Tarmac as safety and physical health.

‘I’m pleased to be involved with Mates in Mind from its launch as it means we can make full use of the resources already set up, follow a proven process, and be engaged with an organization leading the fight to improve positive mental health in the construction industry.’

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