At a recent CIOB event in Guildford, Stephen Haynes, head of programme at mental health awareness charity Mates in Mind, gave a presentation on what is being done to bring about an improvement in mental health awareness in construction organisations.
During the session, CIOB members explored mental health issues in the workplace and how companies are engaging with this issue. Central to this was an insight into how to start the conversation about mental health in the workplace and what can be done to help challenge some of the stigma surrounding mental ill-health.
“It is important to remember what you are trying to actually address within the organisation.”
Participants gained some understanding of key areas including how to spot the signs of mental ill-health, the role that mental health first aid can play within the workplace and how managers can provide better support.
Haynes said: “It is important to remember what you are trying to actually address within the organisation, both in terms of support for staff struggling with emotional and mental health – whether severe mental illnesses such as bipolar, severe depression or schizophrenia, to more common mental health problems such as anxiety or depression – as well as working to mitigate factors in the working environment which can increase negative pressures leading to stress and other mental health related problems.
He continued: “At Mates in Mind we understand that, at one end of the spectrum, addressing mental health in the workplace is about supporting people with mental health issues, whilst at the other end it is about creating working environments where our people thrive at work.
“A single support solution can help but won’t address the wider issues. For example: introducing professional helpline services or colleague listener support models, such as Mental Health First Aid in isolation, will only work effectively if they are communicated as part of a wider programme, employees understand what they provide and importantly, when to use them and how to signpost co-workers to them.”
For more information, visit www.matesinmind.org
Stephen Haynes image: Peter Dench