What do we do?
Mates in Mind was created to help organisations, of any size, to improve their workforces’ mental wellbeing.
However one of the main questions we receive is how exactly we do this? Construction is a huge industry and driving a massive culture change is not going to be a task that can be achieved overnight. We do this by providing the skills, clarity and confidence to employers on how to raise awareness, improve understanding and address the stigma of mental ill-health.
We know that driving meaningful, long lasting change across the industry comes through understanding and working with the industry and not simply attempt to promote a one-size fits- all ‘solution’ to a problem. So we work and communicate with employers to help create a positive mental health environment.
We focus on creating cultures of support in workplaces to create honest, open dialogues between members of staff. Additionally, we work to advance the education and understanding of employers, other organisations and the general public around mental health.
Within the Mates in Mind framework there are four key elements of our Supporter Programme which together, create our unique joined up approach:
1. To educate and inform the workforce – with messages tailored to the specific levels within the organisation, from the general staff, to managers and leaders – helping everyone understand their roles and responsibilities when it comes to mental wellbeing.
2. To support an organisation in creating the right programme for them - offering guidance on specific worker issues, from creating a stress management policy – right through to connecting the workforce to appropriate support at the right time.
3. To visibly support the framework throughout the organisation with relevant and accessible communication materials – with informative posters and infographics, hard hat stickers and van stickers, to flyers and wallet cards etc.
4. To help build an evidence base – Mates in Mind continue to develop a research programme which will help the industry understand the nature and impact of mental health, and ensure development of effective and robust solutions.
What makes it unique?
What makes our programme truly unique, is that it is not a one size fits all approach, which then leaves the organisation to roll out a company wide change on its own.
We work together with workplaces to help them identify the areas for improvement and growth, assess their requirements and work in partnership to roll out our programme and continue to support and provide guidance as an organisation grows and develops.
What do your Supporters say?
"Through the support we have received from Mates in Mind, and the commitment to mental health we’ve been able to demonstrate to our team, partnering with this charity is one of the best things we’ve done for Catsurveys as a whole. By using the resources provided by Mates in Mind we have been able to raise awareness on mental health issues and the stigmas associated with them through the entirety of our team. Our management team have benefitted from the organisation tools provided, and it is clear from the feedback we’ve received from our staff that employee satisfaction and wellbeing has increased. Communication concerning mental health has improved and we’ve seen a reduction in absence due to stress-related illnesses and mental health conditions."
Jodi Turpin, Catsurveys
"Broadly, Mates in Mind has helped us raise mental wellbeing to the top of the safety agenda and equipped all of us to start the conversation. We and the majority of our supply chain contractors now have mental health first aiders, mental health policies and hold regular well-being awareness days.
I hope that everyone in our organisation knows they can talk freely about their mental health and ask for help without fear of stigma and that it has made us all more aware to look out for our colleagues. Mates In Mind have been a tremendous support to us in raising the profile of mental health in construction and our business. Personally I am always proud to see Mental Health first aiders on site induction boards. Several years ago this would never have been the case. As an industry we are a long way behind other sectors but together we are making change happen and making our sites and workplaces safer. Mates In Mind is a unique charitable cause which is addressing a critical issue in the construction community. They give you access to a wide range of tools, people and training that will equip you to address mental health in your organisation".
Matthew Buntine, Artelia UK
Do you have any numbers to prove it's working?
Following our work with RSE Building Services, the impact of recognising and taking action to improve the mental health of the workforce was clear:
• A significant decrease in stress-related absence (2 weeks absence)
• Increased retention rate (proportion of staff leaving after one year)
• 9% increase in staff feeling that RSE was supportive to some extent in relation to mental health – up from 66% in 2018 to 75% in 2019
There was a profound improvement in workforce feedback with Supporter: Tideway around the mental health support available to them, such as:
• 84% of people responded positively to how Tideway is addressing mental health
• 12% rise in the number of staff who felt that they could approach their boss with a mental health problem
• 87% agreed that their manager cares about their health and wellbeing to any extent
• 73% rated their own mental health as ‘Good’ or ‘Very good’, and similarly site workers were more likely to rate ‘Good’ or ‘Very Good’
How else are you improving mental health and wellbeing within construction?
We will be continuing to work with colleges offering construction courses to roll out our Mates in Mind, industry sponsored, research based and fully evaluated programme supporting apprentices and preparing them for entry into the industry where they can enjoy a long and fulfilling career as the business owners and line managers of the future. Equipping new entrants into construction with the mental health awareness and skills to look after both themselves and others is where our wave of industry culture change begins. We are also committed to working with the apprentice host employers to ensure they know how to support the apprentices not just from the required health & safety perspective but also from a mental health angle.
Furthermore, following on from the research findings of work with SMEs and sole traders (which you can read here), we will continue to support this key area of the industry with the use of charitable bursary funds, seeking out this traditionally hard to reach area of the sector to see how we can further assist them in mental health support including through supply chains and their involvement in site projects. This will involve an innovative new approach never seen in the industry before.
How can I find out more?