Workers should be encouraged to open up not man up


  Posted by: electrical-poster      4th December 2017

ECIS urges greater awareness of mental health issues in the construction sector

Following a study by Men’s Health magazine which revealed that over half of men (56%) have had thoughts of suicide, ECIS, the employee benefits specialist for the construction sector is urging employers to put the right strategies in place to spot the warning signs and offer the support their workers may need.

Vicki Leslie, client relationship manager for ECIS said: “These findings should ring alarm bells in the male dominated construction sector. Not least because in England, the risk of suicide among low-skilled male labourers, particularly those working in construction roles, is 3 times higher than the male national average. Furthermore, Mates in Mind, the mental health charity for the construction sector estimates that 350,000 people in construction are affected by issues such as stress, anxiety or depression at any one time. Sadly due to the stigma that has surrounded mental health issues, many men have been encouraged to ‘man up’ rather than open up, both at work and at home and we could well be seeing some of the consequences this.

“Businesses need to be taking their cue from the wide number of initiatives to encourage more openness about mental health issues in men, take advantage of the range of information now available online and make use of the training courses available to help improve their understanding of how to tackle mental health issues in the workplace.

“‘First Aid’ training in mental health awareness for line managers is a good place to start but so too is having an Employee Assistance Programmes in place giving staff access 24/7 to confidential support at the end of the phone. We are also seeing more take up of direct access services, which speed access to professional treatment without need for a GP referral. But overall, encouraging openness and making time to listen can make a big difference to employees and this, in combination with other support mechanisms, should have a knock on effect in terms of productivity and success of the business itself.”

Tips for tackling mental health issues at work

  1. Keep an open mind.
  2. Learn the facts about mental health disorders.
  3. Seek expert advice and guidance.
  4. Be flexible.
  5. Listen: giving an employee the time to talk about their concerns can be very therapeutic.
  6. Appreciate that people with a history of mental health problems may bring different skills to the organisation!
  7. Put in place support services such as Employee Assistance Programmes and triage for mental health conditions.
  8. Source: BUPA and ECIS





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