MPA commits to championing Mates in Mind initiative
Association joins growing list of champion organizations to improve positive mental wellbeing across construction materials supply chain
THE Mineral Products Association (MPA) has committed itself to raising the awareness of, and addressing the stigma of poor mental health and improving positive mental wellbeing in the UK mineral products supply chain that underpins construction.
At its annual Health and Safety conference in London (2 November), the MPA announced its decision to join the growing list of leading companies and organizations that have already become Mates in Mind business champions.
In doing so, the Association now has full access to a pioneering framework of resources, techniques and tools that will help its members to create more mentally healthy workplaces.
Addressing conference delegates, Adrian Shah-Cundy, corporate responsibility director for VolkerWessels UK, and a champion of Mates in Mind, said: ‘Having such an influential organization sign-up to Mates in Mind reinforces further the degree to which the UK construction industry is aware of the need to start making significant headway in tackling this important issue.
‘The evidence for doing something is stark. Too many workers in the UK construction sector are suffering in silence as they struggle with stress, anxiety and depression. The approach that Mates in Mind takes starts the process of lowering the barriers that prevent people from seeking help – most of all, the stigma associated with talking about mental health. The MPA’s extensive links, especially amongst SMEs, means that Mates in Mind can reach even more workers who are in need.’
The Mates in Mind model supports better workplace mental health by bringing together four key elements:
- Guidance and support: offering guidance on specific employee issues to creating stress management policies through to connecting the workforce to appropriate support at the right time. Mates in Mind supports companies that create and implement a mental health at work plan.
- Awareness and education: helping to develop mental health awareness throughout the industry – from encouraging open conversation throughout the workforce to helping leaders and managers understand their roles in creating mentally healthy work environments.
- Communication: helping to ensure the organization’s commitment to positive mental health and wellbeing remains visible and relevant. From targeted communication materials to supporting organizations in monitoring employee mental health and wellbeing.
- Research and development: developing industry-leading research to understand the nature and impact of mental health, and to ensure development of effective, robust and sustainable solutions.
Announcing the MPA’s decision to become a Mates in Mind business champion, Kevin Stevens, director for safety and health, said: ‘The stigma associated with mental health is a serious issue that will require a concerted and collaborative effort, making open discussion socially acceptable.
‘The Mineral Products Association is delighted to be working with Mates in Mind partners and champions to help make a positive difference to peoples’ lives and businesses of all sizes across the supply chain.’
Welcoming the MPA to the initiative, Joscelyne Shaw, executive director of Mates in Mind, commented: ‘Since the roll out of Mates in Mind, the UK construction industry’s ambition to make progress on this important issue has been made very clear to me so it is pleasing to see this determination stated further with the MPA’s commitment to becoming a business champion.
‘The interaction between work and mental health is complex and sensitive, and is a challenge to employers. What the evidence shows is that stigma and associated discrimination remain significant barriers to addressing the issue.
‘We are helping construction companies to take steps to address both the human cost to construction workers and the financial cost to their businesses. We’re very fortunate that the construction industry has taken a stand to ensure mental health is included within the overall health agenda.’