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Please note the below contains mentions of suicide. 

Article originally posted February 2022, updated November 2023.


Four in five suicides are by men, with suicide the biggest cause of death for men under 35 (source: UK Parliament). In 2020, workers in construction were at some of the highest risk of suicide in the country, at 3.7 times higher than the national average (source: Office for National Statistics).

Construction work has a variety of pressures from tight contracts to long hours, time away from loved ones and managing budgets, not to mention the added stresses caused by the pandemic and the rising costs of supplies. Additionally, over half of all UK employees (and notably 57% of Millennials) do not feel comfortable disclosing mental health or psychological conditions (source: Reed). This results in
a culture which prevents many workers from seeking support and help when they may need it, putting further stress on their own mental health and wellbeing. 

It is important for employers and individuals to know just how important mental health awareness and support is to workers and the statistics below highlight why change is needed within the construction industry. 


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Our Survey Results

In June 2022, we published the findings from our major study of the mental health of self-employed construction workers and those working in small firms. Our results showed that intense workloads, financial problems, poor work-life balance and COVID-19 pressures on the supply of materials combined to significantly raise stress and anxiety levels. This mainly male workforce has long been known to contain workers who are reluctant to talk about their mental health.

Survey findings from over 300 respondents suggest that almost a third are now living with elevated levels of anxiety each day. Construction workers from a range of trades that are often hard to reach, from bricklayers, to groundworkers to plasterers, told researchers from Mates in Mind and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) that the continuing stigma of mental illness prevents them from discussing it beyond close friends or family members.

Additionally, a report by the Chartered Institute of Building found that 26% of construction industry professionals thought about taking their own lives in 2019 and 56% of construction professionals work for organisations with no policies on mental health in the workplace.

Furthermore, in 2022/23 stress, anxiety, and depression accounted for 49% of work-related ill-health, resulting in 17.1 million working days lost (HSE). It is estimated that mental ill-health costs businesses £56bn annually (Deloitte UK).


What can be done?

Education and training are key to eliminating the stigma. Mates in Mind has empowered hundreds of organisations across the UK to tackle the silence surrounding mental ill-health and embed a positive culture change within these workplaces. Working alongside our partnerssector leaders and growing community of Supporters, we are able to deliver effective change across the UK by providing the skills, clarity and confidence to employers on how to raise awareness, improve understanding and address the stigma of mental ill-health.

Be part of the change.

Whether you're part of a business, or an organisation looking to bring in more support for its employees, you can find out more about how we can help you by filling out our contact us form and requesting a call back.

As a Mates in Mind Supporter, you will have exclusive access to a range of resources, training and support, designed to help you organisation implement their workplace mental health programme.

  • Access an annual assessment of your programme and a tailored recommendations report to help identify any gaps in your approach.
  • Free access to our 'Start the Conversation' course, an all-employee general mental health awareness programme.
  • Access to a dedicated Support Manager to act as a guide through your organisations mental wellbeing journey and offer any new resources as they become available.
  • Counselling through the National Counselling Society at a discounted rate, to help staff members who may need a little extra support.
To find out more about becoming a Mates in Mind Supporter, click the button below and one of our dedicated Support Managers will get in touch to schedule an introduction call.

We look forward to welcoming you to our community.

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