Financial pressure main cause of construction workers’ mental health issues

Financial concerns are the main reason construction workers struggle with mental health, according to a survey by materials supplier Ironmongery.

A third of the workers who reported mental health issues said that concern over money was the reason for their difficulties. The firm’s report into the construction industry also found that four in five construction workers struggle with mental health, and 86 per cent of those surveyed said they found it difficult to talk about mental health concerns.

Tension with customers is the second biggest reason for mental health concerns, with 24 per cent reporting it. In third was a high workload, at 23 per cent.

More than a quarter of construction workers, meanwhile, said they feel they cannot take time off for mental health reasons. In total, 500 people across the industry were asked for their opinions as part of the survey.

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at mental health charity Mind, said: “In male-dominated industries such as construction, employees are often less willing and able to open up about their mental health and ask for support. This can be problematic because mental health problems often become worse if left untreated, and the consequences can be fatal.

“We urge employers to create cultures where employees can speak openly and honestly about their mental health.”

In October, Construction News spoke to people across the industry about the mental health issues they have faced and how they have coped. Unfortunately, mental health struggles are widespread in the industry. The most recent data, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for 2020, showed that for every 100,000 construction workers, 30 died by suicide.

As part of CN’s award-winning mental health campaign Mind Matters, we launched an anonymous survey in February to get a picture of the mental health of construction workers in the UK. We will combine the findings into a piece in the coming months. If you have not already, you can contribute to the survey here.

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