Mental health is an increasingly important topic in the construction industry, especially during Mental Health Awareness Month. However, it’s important to remember that the conversation doesn't end there. In order to create a safe and healthy work environment for employees, construction companies must actively work to promote mental health awareness and education throughout the year.
Why the mental health conversation is important
Mental health has been a hot topic lately, especially in the construction industry. As we've previously discussed here, workers in the construction industry are at a higher risk for mental health issues due to the nature of the work. Additionally, mental health issues can lead to physical health issues, decreased productivity, and decreased job satisfaction. It's important to continue the conversation beyond Mental Health Awareness Month to ensure that everyone is equipped with the tools and resources to support themselves and their colleagues.
How to continue the conversation
The mental health conversation should not be limited to Mental Health Awareness Month. Rather, it should be a continuous conversation in the construction industry. We talked a couple of weeks ago about how to implement real change within an organization, but here are five ways that anyone (at any level) can continue the conversation:
Check-in with your colleagues: Whether you are a leader or not, it is important to check in with those around you. No.... we are not suggesting the pass by, "hey, how was your weekend." Ask them how they are doing, then stay quiet while they answer.
Learn what resources are available: talk with your HR department, search for what may be locally available, and take a look at the list below.
Share the mental health resources: It's great that you know what they are, now share them with your colleagues, with your manager, with your team... ensure they are available on your company website or intranet.
Conduct a toolbox talk or safety moment: Incorporate mental health into your toolbox talks or safety moments. These talks can help raise awareness about mental health issues and help your employees learn how to cope with stress. (and don't worry, you don't have to write one from scratch, check the resources list below).
Attend Mental Health Matters in Construction: a free forum to learn what other construction companies are doing. Click here to learn more and sign up.
By continuing the mental health conversation beyond Mental Health Awareness Month, you'll be able to build a workplace culture that prioritizes the well-being of your employees. Encouraging discussions and providing resources can make a significant difference in promoting mental health in the construction industry.
What resources are available
Thankfully, there are a plethora of resources available for those who want to continue the mental health conversation in their workplace. Here are just a few:
Toolbox talks from:
Education to build awareness from:
Trainings for you (or your colleagues):
Realistic Strategies to Talk about Mental Health at Work (LinkedIn Learning)
Talking About Mental Health as a Leader (LinkedIn Learning)
This is only a partial list and if you have others to add to it, please send them our way by clicking here! Remember, the conversation should continue beyond Mental Health Awareness Month, and it is up to all of us to work towards breaking the stigma associated with mental health and creating supportive, inclusive workplaces.