Poor mental health is a problem plaguing the building industry. But help is available... - Grand Designs Magazine
Man with his head in his hands looking sad

Poor mental health is a problem plaguing the building industry. But help is available…

Mental-health issues are a serious problem in the construction industry. But support is available and the industry is working to find solutions

By Mary Richards |

We’ve all seen how much stress homeowners suffer during a build or renovation, but how often do we consider the mental health of the contractors working for them?

Poor mental health is a significant issue in the construction business, with many tradespeople suffering from mental distress and higher than average rates of suicide in the sector.

Causes of the problem

It is easy to understand why those who work in the industry might be at risk. Construction can be an insecure business where work is never guaranteed. Financial pressures and client demands can be intense. Some workers have to spend long periods working away from home. And a macho culture can discourage talking and encourage bullying under the guise of banter.

Top ten worries

A recent report into mental health amongst tradespeople commissioned by Ironmongery Direct revealed the following are the current top ten causes of stress for tradespeople:

  • The cost of living crisis
  • Rising costs of materials
  • Finances
  • Tensions with customers
  • Pressure to do the best job for customers
  • Job security
  • Tensions with suppliers
  • Risk of catching Covid
  • Making mistakes at work
  • Too much work.

What’s being done

Various charities, like Mates in Mind, and industry initiatives like Building Mental Health are working to improve mental health within the sector, by encouraging people to talk, removing the stigma around mental distress, and finding better ways to support people. The Considerate Constructors Scheme offers good advice to building firms on how to improve mental wellbeing of their staff.

Learn more

You can find out more about this issue in the Chartered Institute of Building’s report Understanding Mental Health in the Built Environment.

Reach out

In the meantime, the old advice, ‘It’s good to talk’, holds more true than ever in these days of digital distraction. If you are feeling stressed, or you’re concerned about someone else, reach out. A chat is the best place to start.

Need help now?

If you need help now, Lighthouse Club, the construction industry charity, has a 24-7 helpline offering support.