The importance placed on understanding mental health has been increasing over the past decade and now the construction industry is starting to break down any stigma around this issue, encouraging people to talk about mental illness and share ways to seek help and support.
Talking about mental health was considered by some a sign of weakness or admitting defeat, and maybe this has been more so in the construction industry. But with initiatives like “Time to Change”, Mind UK and many others made available these barriers are gradually being lowered and there is a greater opportunity within the sector to proactively identify the early signs and react accordingly.
At WSP we are not immune to the continually increasing demands of the construction industry with projects working to tighter deadlines and even tighter budgets. This can sometimes create a knock-on effect for employees and those around them (in and out of work). We launched our Online Health Assessment over two years ago helping employees identify areas of self-improvement and ownership, as well as enabling us as a business to create a risk based strategy to support our employees and those they are in contact with.
The data gained from the fantastic engagement across the business with Online Health Assessments has allowed us to create specific initiatives to support our people, drive down risks and improve their wellbeing. In the last two years we have trained a network of Mental Health First Aiders across our UK business and just last week we held our annual Safety, Health & Wellbeing Day which focused on Mental Health Awareness and Wellbeing.
The demands of the construction industry will not necessarily disappear, but by giving our colleagues the skills, tools and support to empower themselves and others, we feel that WSP will be able to play our part in changing the attitudes and behaviours towards mental health, building resilience within our organisation, with the result of helping to improve employee wellbeing both for physical and psychological health.
Read Chris’ blog ‘Big Brother or Big Help’ for more about why organisations should care about employee wellbeing.
This blog was written by Chris Hanson-Moring, Health and Wellbeing Manager at WSP