Tory and Labour MPs want urgent action to deal with mental illness in construction industry
Urgent action is needed to respond to a mental health crisis in the construction industry, says Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health Barbara Keeley.
Ms Keeley called on the British government to act following what she called “disturbing” research findings about mental health in the UK’s construction industry.
The Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South, said research by Construction News and a report by recruitment agency Randstad showed “deeply worrying trends in the mental health of construction workers”.
Construction News said its research found as many as one in four construction workers considered suicide, this rose to as high as one in three among junior members of staff and graduates – more than three times the number of suicides by those working as corporate managers or directors and of those working in sales occupations, and more than ten times those working in health and social care.
Randstad said it found that a quarter of construction workers said they were considering leaving the industry within the next year because or high levels of stress and a poor work/life balance.
Ms Keeley told Construction News: “It is disturbing that a quarter of construction workers have thought of taking their own life; suicides in the construction industry are higher than other trades or professions; and reported mental health problems are twice the national average.”
More needed to be done, she said, to understand the “specific factors associated with in the construction industry” that can affect mental health such as long working hours and periods away from home.
Mental health campaigner and Conservative MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis James Morris told Construction News that the industry and government need to work together to tackle the issue.
“There needs to be a partnership between government and relevant industry bodies: government can play a role in raising awareness of the issue,” said Mr Morris.
He added that more needs to be done to tackle stigma surrounding mental health issues in the industry and “we need to make more people feel comfortable about talking about mental health.”