A former England footballer who now serves as a mental health ambassador for a construction technology business has met with Maria Caulfield MP to discuss the issues.
Trevor Steven met the MP – who is minister for mental health – at a construction site in London, along with representatives from Lendlease, to discuss the mental health crisis ongoing in the industry.
Steven is the mental health ambassador for Causeway Technologies, which provides cloud software solutions to support the digitalisation of the construction and maintenance industries.
Last year, the Buckinghamshire-based company launched a lobbying campaign to encourage companies to pledge greater support for mental health. Part of the campaign advocates for mental health provision to be included in Health & Safety and Social Value procurement conditions in construction contracts.
At the meeting, Caulfield heard how a recent industry survey of 1,439 construction site workers, commissioned by the company, found that 56% are currently experiencing or have experienced mental health problems including anxiety and depression; 12% of respondents said they had experienced or were experiencing suicidal thoughts.
The minister said: “Businesses must create a work environment that supports and protects their workers, both physically and mentally.
“It’s great to see Causeway and Lendlease taking positive steps to de-stigmatise mental health conversations in the construction industry, and I hope this signals lasting change for the wider industry to champion mental health support for their employees.”
Steven added: “We strongly believe that intervention on site is key to improving mental health in construction and that we need to commit to doing better, which is why we’re campaigning for mental health to be as seriously regarded in the industry as health and safety.
“We’ve had some very frank conversations over the last 18 months about the reality of working in the construction industry and it is clear Mental health is the true health and safety crisis in the construction industry. We hope we can count on the support of the government to back our campaign and help us move the dial on this most important issue.”
Also in attendance at the meeting was Matthew Hartill, a scaffolder who works for Lyndon SGB, part of BrandSafway, who shared his story of struggle with poor mental health and suicidal thoughts, which eventually led to him becoming a mental health ambassador for fellow construction workers.
The meeting took place at Google’s King’s Cross development, where Lendlease is implementing industry-leading mental health initiatives to support its workforce.
Anna Evans, public sector framework director for Lendlease Construction, said: “We’re determined to improve the conversation around mental health and it was really encouraging to see Trevor and Maria Caulfield on site discussing an issue that, as a society, we’re still getting comfortable with talking about.
In construction, our people are our greatest asset and to safeguard their mental health we need to be proactive. That’s why we’ve trained 500 members of staff as Mental Health First Aiders over the last decade, and we’ll continue to invest time and energy on providing the best possible mental health support for our workforce.”
Causeway is asking companies to sign its mental health pledge here.
Main image: Trevor Steven and Maria Caulfield MP
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