Mental Health in Construction

A Discussion about Navigating Mental Health in Construction

The construction industry is a demanding field, characterised by long hours, physically demanding work, and a culture of “toughing it out.”

This can lead to a number of mental health challenges in construction for workers, including depression, stress, and anxiety.



Common Mental Health Challenges Faced by Construction Workers

According to Catherine Cornelius, UK Nursing Manager at AA Euro Group, the most common mental health challenges faced by construction workers are:

  • Depression – This is characterised by low mood, loss of interest in activities, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Stress – This is caused by the demanding nature of the work, and can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and muscle tension.
  • Anxiety – This is characterised by worry, fear, and physical symptoms such as racing heart, sweating, and trembling.


Mental Health in Construction – The Contributors

There are a number of factors that can contribute to mental health challenges in the construction industry, including:

  1. Long hours and physically demanding work – Construction workers often work long hours and in physically demanding environments, which can lead to stress, fatigue, and physical injuries.
  2. Isolation and stigma – Construction workers may feel isolated and alone, especially if they are working on remote sites. This can make it difficult to seek help for mental health problems, as there may be a stigma attached to doing so.
  3. Lack of awareness and training – Many construction workers are not aware of the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, or they may not know where to seek help. Employers may also lack training on how to support their employees with mental health issues.


Signs and Symptoms of Mental Health Conditions

It is important for construction workers and employers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions, so that they can seek help early on.

Some of the signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions include:

  • Sudden changes in behaviour at work – This could include attendance issues, withdrawing from co-workers, and an increase in alcohol or drug use.
  • Change in mood – This could include feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable.
  • Physical symptoms – This could include headaches, fatigue, and muscle tension.


Creating a Supportive Work Environment

Construction companies can play a role in creating a supportive work environment for employees with mental health conditions by:

  1. Being positive and supportive – If a worker has mental health symptoms, treat them the same as a person with a physical illness.
  2. Encouraging the person to seek help – Provide options for support, such as a crisis hotline, mental health first aiders, and Mental Health Awareness training for all staff.
  3. Training managers – Train managers to observe and positively intervene if someone is displaying symptoms of mental health problems.


Resources Available to Construction Workers

There are a number of resources available to construction workers who are struggling with their mental health, including:

  • Lighthouse Club A charity for the construction industry that offers a 24-hour helpline and other support services.
  • Good Samaritans A UK charity that provides crisis support.
  • Mental Health First Aiders on a job site – These should be advertised to all workers.


Partnerships with Recruitment Companies

Recruitment companies can play a role in promoting mental health awareness and support among construction workers by:

  • Including mental health awareness and screening in all steps of the hiring and onboarding process.
  • Including mental health screening in all pre-employment medical screening.
  • Including mental health awareness training in all onboarding with a new employer as part of the Health and Safety program.
  • Treating the disclosure of any mental health condition in the same manner as any other medical condition or disability.
  • Providing mental health awareness to construction companies to help them create a more supportive and inclusive work environment for their employees.

Mental health challenges are a significant issue in the construction industry.

By working together, we can create a more supportive and inclusive work environment for all construction workers.

We hope you found this article insightful and if you are a construction worker who is struggling with their mental or physical health, we encourage you to raise this issue with your relevant support whether that be onsite, online or anywhere.

Contact Us today and keep up to date with all the latest from AA Euro Group on LinkedIn.


Get in touch now