Here at Chandler Material Supplies we have been actively implementing a number of moves to improve the overall stance on health and wellbeing in the Building Industry, as well as inside our own company.
We’ve been consistently working to improve our overall stance on health and wellbeing for our employees:
- May 2018 we began working with Essex Lifestyle Services/Provide and actively participate in their Working Well’ Initiative. The initiative covers the whole Health and Wellbeing umbrella, but does focus very much on mental health.
- June 2018, we provided free voluntary Health Checks for employees via Provide.
- September 2018, Chandler Materials signed a contract with ‘Workplace Options’ to provide an Employee Assistance Programme benefit to our employees.
- November 2018, our managers and directors attended a one-day Stress Awareness Workshop.
- Throughout the year we have promoted health and wellbeing awareness.
“In June 2018 through the company’s Employee Assistance Programme. I qualified as a Mental Health First Aider. We will be looking for a few more employees to attend the training in our quieter months towards the end of the year, so that we have a team of MHFAers who work office-based and outside. …In relation to mental ill health, our employees and their family are entitled to received 6 sessions of counselling per issue, per year ” -Maria Tickner, HR Advisor.
But how does it compare to the industry as a whole? Construction companies as a whole have started to understand the need for more mental health understanding. According to latest statistics, the industry where mental ill health is most acute is in fact construction. With men in the building industry being three times more likely to take their own lives than men on average, according to the ONS figures.
The personal cost of mental health problems can be enormous, but it also has a wider impact on the economy. The ONS estimated that stress, anxiety, depression and serious mental illness caused at least 15 million days of sickness absence in the UK last year, but other estimates have put the figure at 70 million a year, because mental illness can lead to other health problems.*
“I am so happy to see that the campaign for Mental Health Awareness within our industry is gathering momentum. While the larger nationals have just begun to implement programmes, Chandler Materials embraced, over a year ago, the importance of increasing both management and employee understanding of Mental Ill Health. I believe that by encouraging our employees to better understand, we can dispel the stigma associated with mental ill health. And by talking openly, we are educating ourselves and others to not only show compassion for those with mental ill health, but also encourage equality between physical and mental illness
We are the only builders merchant signed up to Essex Provide’s Working Well initiative and our Employee Assistance Programme is a benefit usually only offered by larger organisations or authorities. Our continued commitment to raising awareness and supporting our employees is now embedded in our culture and will, as we move forward, result in a happier and healthier workplace.” – Maria Tickner, HR Advisor, Chandler Material Supplies.
Where to go if you need support? First and foremost, it’s well worth ditching the “I’m fine” answer to ” Are you ok?” Speaking up and answering “actually I’m not” could be all it takes to get the ball rolling in helping individuals feel much better and then successfully signposted in the right direction for any help needed. Here at Chandlers we hope to continue to be leading the way for other builders merchants to follow.
For further support and information regarding mental health in the construction industry, contact https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/organisation/mates-in-mind/
*source BBC News.