Housebuilders launch mental health campaign in Wales

29 Mar, 2019

Housebuilders launch mental health campaign in Wales

House builders have launched a new campaign to help end the stigma of mental health and provide support for workers in the industry. It aims to tackle the shocking implications of mental health that is resulting in over 400 workers in the wider construction industry taking their own lives every year.

Launched today in a meeting between Welsh Government, HBF and the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity in Cardiff, the campaign urges more Welsh companies to get involved.

HBF has paired up with the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity for this campaign, a charity dedicated to delivering financial and emotional support to the construction community and their families. Together, they aim to provide house builders with key resources and training to support employees and sub-contractors.

Over 30 builders4 have already signed up to the campaign and pledged to adopt the ‘Building Mental Health Framework’, which gives best practice guidance to companies to help put critical steps in place. The industry has also pledged over £100,000 towards the Charity.

Those who have already pledged their support in Wales include Redrow, Barratt Developments, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Bellway, McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles.

Julie James AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government, said;

“Suicide is the biggest cause of death of men under 35 and yet men are less likely to access support than women. This is why it is so important for industries like construction, which employs many young men, to highlight the topic of mental health among men through campaigns such as this.

“As a government, we are supporting employers to recognise that mental ill-health is not necessarily a barrier to work and sustainable employment is often the best way to support individuals to recover from mental ill-health. I welcome the launch of the campaign and commend the work being undertaken by the HBF, with the Lighthouse Club, to raise awareness of this issue and encourage construction workers to access the support that is available.”

Karen Jones, Group HR Director, Redrow said;

“The sheer scale of the mental health issue within construction, means that a collaborative and long-term approach is essential.

“That’s why we’re delighted to sign-up to the campaign and to adopt the Building Mental Health Framework.

“It will particularly help to further engage sub-contractors on-site, where the mental health problem can often be most acute.

“As a Welsh-based organisation, we’d encourage other home builders in the country to get involved.

“The campaign has the potential to positively impact thousands of people in Wales, playing an important role in reducing the stigma of mental health-related issues.”

Whilst the industry has worked hard in recent years on health and safety initiatives to ensure workers are safe physically, an overwhelming 88% of people working in the sector believe that more support needs to be given with regards to mental health. A construction worker is now ten times more likely to die through suicide than a fall from a height and the industry is now higher than agriculture when it comes to mental health issues and rates of suicide. Jobs that are common in housebuilding such as plastering and decorating, have some of the highest rates of poor mental health.

The new campaign will deliver vital support including the provision of a confidential 24/7 industry helpline and retraining for workers who have been injured or who have suffered from an illness which means they cannot return to their normal work.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman at HBF said;

“As an industry a huge amount of focus has been on how we ensure sites are as safe physically as they can be. However, we also need to be doing all we can to address the mental health issues that we face and improve the unacceptable level of suicide amongst construction workers.

“The campaign aims to help companies support their workforce and identify and help those people struggling with mental health issues. We want to create a culture where talking about mental health is welcomed and normal so people come forward when they need help and then get it.”

Working with the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, HBF is able to offer support for home builders, which includes support packs for managers on site to speak to their teams and support them.

Bill Hill, CEO, Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, said;

“Our charity along with Building Mental Health are encouraging every organisation in construction to engage in a programme to improve the mental health of our industry for this generation and the next. No construction worker should be alone in a crisis. We are absolutely delighted that HBF have embraced this challenge as a collective and thank them for their amazing generosity in supporting our 24/7 Construction industry helpline.”

For more information please visit www.hbf.co.uk/mentalhealth

 

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For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner on 020 7960 1606 / 07919 307760 / Steve.turner@hbf.co.ukOr Claire Coward on 020 7960 1614 / 07732 682114 / Claire.coward@hbf.co.uk     

Notes to editors

  1. The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. The HBF’s member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: hbf.co.uk
  2. For industry related mental health and wellbeing, or reporting on construction worker safety and protection, Charity CEO Bill Hill, is available for expert opinion and comment on hill@lighthouseclub.org or 07776 177298.
  3. Details about the pledge:
    1. Commit to making a difference by signing the Building Mental Health Framework charter
    2. If you don’t have an Employee Assistance Programme, introduce the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity helpline number. Ensure it is well publicised with posters and cards around your work sites. Encourage staff to download their free Helpline app
    3. Deliver the Mental Health Took Box Talk. Create an interactive Tool Box talk to raise awareness of everyone in the organization to the mental health issues we have and help to educate them on identifying the possible signs of stress, anxiety, depression and how to start the conversation
    4. Deliver a Mental Health awareness day (or half day) training. This opportunity should be made available to anyone who might need more information on mental well-being, for example managers, foreman or supervisors. This will give them a more in depth understanding of mental health and provide some tools for colleagues to help individuals who are struggling to get the help they need
    5. Ensure you have enough Mental Health First Aiders for your place of work. For large sites we encourage you to have one Mental Health First Aiders for every 100 employees and subcontractors on site
    6. All information about the pledge can be found online here: https://www.buildingmentalhealth.net/resources.html#steps
  4. HBF member companies who have pledged their support includes: Legal & General Homes, Bloor Homes, CALA Homes, Countryside, Bovis Homes, Stratfield Homes, Lovell, Lendlease, Telford Homes, Miller Homes, Strata, Croudace Homes, Avant Homes, Hill, Barratt Homes, Shropshire Homes, Fairview New Homes, Taylor Wimpey, Bellway, Spitfire Bespoke Homes, Redrow, Kier, TDS, Fairgrove, Persimmon, Engie, McCarthy & Stone, Wates, Willmott Dixon, William Davis Homes, Hadley Property Group, Galliford Try, Cameron Homes Ltd.

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claire coward
Home Builders Federation
Campaigns & Communications Officer