“Organisations must prioritise the mental wellbeing of their staff, if they want to boost productivity, retain talent and create an open, inclusive and diverse workforce. An astounding one in six workers in Britain are dealing with stress, anxiety or depression at any one time, which adds up to an estimated 70 million sick days every year. In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health. Within the construction sector, research suggests that people are 10 times more likely to die by suicide than from on-site accidents*.
“Despite this, a large amount of firms do not have appropriate programmes and training in place to support staff. Employers need to approach mental wellbeing in the same way they would physical health. There are plenty of practical steps employers can take to ensure people affected feel supported; for example, such as considering including mental health cover in any company medical or life insurance policies, having a mental health first-aider or working to identify any triggers in the workplace by regularly surveying staff to go beyond the workload and to find out how people are feeling and coping with any issues. This not only is the right thing to do but it also makes business sense.
“At RICS, we want to change the industry and create a culture where our members feel empowered to seek help when they need it, as well as for firms to be equipped to provide this support. This is one of the reasons we work closely with LionHeart, the benevolent fund for RICS professionals and their families, and support their work wherever possible. Through LionHeart, our members who might find themselves faced with all kinds of difficult circumstances have access to a range of expert support services, ranging from health and wellbeing packages including professional counselling, work-related support and legal advice, and financial help in some situations.”
• In construction, which employs over 2.1million workers (constituting 6% of the UK workforce), 350,000 of those experience a mental health issue at any one time. (Source: https://www.shponline.co.uk/mates-in-mind-the-construction-industrys-answer-to-mental-ill-health/)
• Research from construction trade union UCATT in 2016 found that 64% of respondents were suffering from stress and 76% said had at some point suffered stress in the workplace. The two main mental health areas that caused our members most pain were depression and anxiety (75% had experienced depression and 58% anxiety). (Source: https://www.ucatt.org.uk/ucatt-finds-high-levels-stress-and-mental-illness-among-construction-workers)
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