Mental health charity dons hard hats to talk to construction workers

Pictured are Robert Muldoon, Lighthouse; and Adrian Kirby from Henry Boot Construction

Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity visited hundreds of workers at Henry Boot Construction’s Heart of the City projects to highlight the importance of talking about mental health.

The charity, which provides emotional, physical, and financial wellbeing to construction workers and their families, also visited a Henry Boot Construction site in Mansfield with trips to York and Leeds planned for September.

Suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 50 with two construction workers in the UK taking their own life every working day. More than 87 per cent of the construction workforce are male, which traditionally means they may be less likely to talk about and share problems.

Henry Boot Construction director Ryan O’Loughlin is a trustee at Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and was instrumental alongside Works Manager Dean Briggs in bringing the charity to the company’s flagship site in Sheffield and beyond.

“The construction industry can be extremely rewarding and provides an opportunity to work with some amazingly talented individuals, but on the flip side, it also has many challenges that can influence poor mental health,” said Ryan.

“The cyclical nature of the industry, long hours, commuting, and fluctuating pay are all contributing factors. The industry has also struggled to shake off a ‘macho’ culture, where people are expected to work through their issues.

“Henry Boot has embedded mental health support into its culture with an excellent Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and trained Mental Health First Aiders. Inviting Lighthouse onto our sites means we can increase the number of touchpoints with both our teams and our suppliers, many of whom don’t have access to Employee Assistance Programmes.”

Lighthouse Club was founded by a small group of workers in 1956 and runs a 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline and supporting app. The charity, which provided £1.2m in charitable services last year, also delivers emergency financial aid to relieve poverty and a range of free educational seminars to promote workforce wellbeing.

Bill Hill, chief executive of Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, said the visit to Henry Boot’s sites across Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire formed part of its Help Inside a Hard Hat campaign.

“We’re reaching out to frontline trades to let them know about the crucial support services we provide for free across the UK and Ireland,” he added.

“We’re visiting builders’ merchants, hire centres and construction sites across the country to help spread the word and it was fantastic to visit more than 500 operatives working across Henry Boot’s sites during this tour.

“The emphasis is very much about having an informal chat and building relationships, especially among those who might be intimidated by seeking professional help.”



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