Statistics show that every single working day in UK and Ireland two construction workers take their own life. One fifth of the construction workforce at any one time is unable to work due to stress, anxiety and/or depression, and those are the ones who report in with the real reasons they are off.
A former colleague once confided in me many years ago that their two weeks off sick with a ‘bad back’ was in fact crushing depression. They were worried about the stigma attached to this and did not feel their Site Manager would understand. Little did my colleague know, that very same Site Manager was on a Mental Health First Aider course whilst he was away sick. He too had suffered from depression and anxiety and wanted to “do more” to help his friends, family, colleagues and site team.
I genuinely feel the stigma of mental health within our industry is slowly diminishing, but there remains much work to be done. This is one of the reasons I qualified as a Mental Health First Aider and undertook the Instructor training for this course, I am honoured to represent the NAS in relation to the subject of mental health.
We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Mental ill health can strike at any time and can affect people from all walks of life.
Although things are improving, stigma still exists around mental ill health. As a society, we don’t tend to know how to take care of our mental health like we do our physical health. This means that people may not know how to support a friend, family member or colleague experiencing a mental health issue, or where to go for support with their own mental health. You can find details of Mental Health training below.
We all know that Physical Health First Aid is a mandatory requirement within our industry, before long this will be (and should be, without question!) the same in relation to Mental Health First Aid.
– Lorraine Shepherd, NAS Training Manager
Please use the dropdowns below to find information relating to Mental Health.
The NAS can help guide you to Mental Health First Aid England accredited courses (at preferential rates for Members). Find out more about the courses they offer. Please contact email@example.com for availability and cost.
The below courses will teach you how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. They won’t teach you to be a therapist, but will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.
You’ll learn to recognise warning signs of mental ill health, and develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone while keeping yourself safe. You’ll also learn how to empower someone to access the support they might need for recovery or successful management of symptoms. This could include self-help books or websites, accessing therapy services through their GP, their place of work, online self-referral, support groups, and more.
What’s more, you’ll gain an understanding of how to support positive wellbeing and tackle stigma in the world around you.
Mental Health Awareness
A half day course delivered online. There is required reading. You will achieve a formal certificate from Mental Health First Aid England – re-taking the course after three years is recommended. Employers who are CITB Levy registered can draw down £30pp in grant (click here).
Mental Health First Aid
This is a two day course delivered online across four half days (you will undertake two half days consecutively, the next two consecutive days will take place one week later). There is required reading and home work. You will achieve a formal certificate from Mental Health First Aid England – attending the Refresher course after three years is recommended. Employers who are CITB Levy registered can draw down £70pp in grant (click here).
Mental Health First Aid Refresher
This is a four hour course delivered online. There is required reading. You will achieve a formal certificate from Mental Health First Aid England – re-taking the course after three years is recommended. Employers who are CITB Levy registered can draw down £35pp in grant (click here).
Mental Health Champion
This is a one day course delivered online. There is required reading. You will achieve a formal certificate from Mental Health First Aid England – re-taking course after three years is recommended. Employers who are CITB Levy registered can draw down £30pp in grant (click here).
Although each individual mental health condition may have its own unique symptoms, the warning signs are often less clear. They often overlap.
It is important for Mental Health First Aiders to remember it is not your responsibility to diagnose someone, but to become more aware so that we know when we need to approach someone to have a conversation.
The key is to pick up on changes in the persons usual thoughts, emotions or behaviours, although physical signs are also common. Mental ill health affects the whole person. Things to watch out for include:
Psychological signs (thoughts and emotions)
- Inability to concentrate
- Loss of confidence
- Memory lapses and confusion
- Loss of humour
- Low self esteem
- Frequent headaches
- Aches and pains
- Frequent stomach upsets
- Sleeping issues
- Weight loss or gain
- Constant tiredness
- Lack of care in their appearance
- Low energy/fatigue
- Social withdrawal
- Argumentative/regular conflict
- Socially unacceptable behaviour
- Being louder and more animated
- Increased dependence on caffeine/alcohol/cigarettes/drugs
- Eating disorders
Work patterns of behaviour
- Difficulty carrying out usual tasks
- Missed deadlines
- Forgotten tasks
- Increased absence
- Increased errors
- Overworking (First in/Last out)
- Being unable to switch off when out of work (emailing out of hours/whilst on holiday etc).
Free downloads from Mates in Mind
- Elephant in the Transit c/o Ford UK (30 secs)
- Gary’s Story c/o Crossrail (2 mins)
- Lighthouse Charity c/o Building Mental Health (3 mins)
- Mental Health in Construction c/o Wates Group (5 mins)
- Depression, a Civil Engineer’s story c/o The Shed Online (7 mins)
- Depression and Me (Denise and Chloe’s Mental Health Journeys) c/o MHFA England (7 mins)
- Stranger on the Bridge c/o Jonny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourn (18 mins)
Resources and Tools
Prevention of suicide in young people
Addiction and substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, gambling)
- Adfam (Family Support)
- Talk to Frank (Drug Support)
- Drinkline – Phone only: 0300 123 1100 FREEPHONE Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat & Sun 11am-4pm
OCD & Phobias
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Finding a Therapist
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+)