Statistics show that each day, two UK 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 am honoured to represent the NAS in relation to the subject of mental health.
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.
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
Aches and pains
Frequent stomach upsets
Weight loss or gain
Lack of care in their appearance
Socially unacceptable behaviour
Being louder and more animated
Increased dependence on caffeine/alcohol/cigarettes/drugs
Work patterns of behaviour
Difficulty carrying out usual tasks
Overworking (First in/Last out)
Being unable to switch off when out of work (emailing out of hours/whilst on holiday etc).
Resources and Tools
Building Mental Health
Prevention of suicide in young people
Addiction and substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, gambling)
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+)