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Construction Mates in Mind scheme launched industry-wide

The Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG) has extended its mental health and wellbeing scheme Mates in Mind to the whole sector.

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The programme’s formal roll out to the wider industry follows a pilot in major contractors and clients.

The Mates in Mind framework provides support to site workers, line managers and organisations, through to a tiered training framework developed with supporting organisations, including the British Safety Council, the mental health charity Mind and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England.

The programme was piloted in February in five organisations: airport operator Heathrow, Tideway and contractors Balfour Beatty, Careys Group and Wilmot Dixon before being evaluated ready for a formal roll-out. 

MHFA provides a two-day programme to train volunteer champions in construction businesses to provide immediate support for workers suffering from mental ill-health and direct them to specialist help. 

Mind provides a 3.5-hour course aimed at supervisory roles, which is designed to raise awareness of mental health issues so that supervisors and line managers understand how they can contribute, can identify the signs to watch out for and where to signpost for assistance.

The British Safety Council provides general awareness training for all operatives in a 45-minute session.

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, which accounts for 400,000 lost working days each year.      

Commenting on the sector-wide roll out, Steve Hails, chair of Mates in Mind Board and director of health, safety and wellbeing at Tideway, said: “Mates in Mind represents a meaningful way forward for tackling mental ill-health in the workplace while also encouraging a positive wellbeing culture. Uniquely, this approach offers flexibility which enables a business to tailor the resources to their needs so that priorities can be more effectively targeted.”

Christian Van Stolk, RAND Europe, said: “It is well documented that the construction industry has many characteristics that could affect the mental health of its workforce. This year, through RAND Europe’s work with Vitality’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace and working with Mates in Mind we have found that there is high variance in the survey results between construction organisations. This is especially noticeable in areas such as financial concerns, work-related stress and unrealistic time pressures where in some organisations there were much higher risks reported compared to the average. This suggests that in designing mental health approaches across the sector there is an opportunity to acknowledge differing cultures and sub-sectors, learn from each other and to work to reduce variance.”  

For more information on Mates in Mind and how to access its training materials and support resources, members should visit its website

Mates In Mind roll out, September 2017

 

Nic Warburton is acting editor, IOSH Magazine

 Nick Warburton was previously acting editor of IOSH Magazine. Before that he was editor of SHP and he has also worked on Local Authority Waste and Recycling and Environmental Health Practitioner

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