Site Workers Still ‘need to be reached’ as suicide rate increases!

Suicide has become a big problem especially with COVID? Studies have shown a rise in the number of suicides over a four-year period shows vulnerable people in the industry are “not being reached”, experts have warned. A study found that the rates had climbed 3 in four years from 26 per 100,000 to 29 per 100,000 in 2019, a study found by Glasgow Caledonian University. Which was commissioned by the Lighthouse Construction industry Charity.

Although the overall increase was relatively its hid discrepancy in rates between different occupations. Unskilled workers such as labourers jumped more than 50% from 48 per 100,000 in 2015 to 73 per 100,000 in 2019. However, the rate among non manual workers, such as managers, fell from around 7 per 100,000 to just under 5 per 100,000. This study also found no change in the historic trend that those in the construction industry are three times more likely to commit suicide than those in other sectors.

Although more construction companies have set up initiatives in order to address mental health, Bill Hills, Lighthouse chief executive, thinks the number of manual workers who operate as sole traders could be the factor in the difference. “It is worrying that our support is not reaching the ‘boots-on-the-ground’ workforce,” he said. “This could be because about 53% of our workforce are self-employed, agency or zero-hour contractors and we are simply not getting our messages down the supply chain.” He also added that the figures were rising before the pandemic struck which was “even more worrying.”

The charity boss also said that financial pressures were a “huge factor” in contributing to stress, anxiety and depression in the industry.

The lighthouse charity provides free 24-hour, seven-days-a-week emotional and wellbeing support for those in the industry that is struggling through anything such as suicide, through its helpline. Also, launching new initiatives to try and reach more people and to “ensure that no construction worker or their family feels alone in a crisis. Those initiatives are:

  • ‘Help inside the hard hat’ awareness campaign, which encourages people to consider mental wellbeing and signposts available support;
  • Lighthouse Beacons, which is a nationwide network of ‘safe places’ being set up where those in the industry can talk confidentially about any issues;
  • Supporting Apprentices, which is a pilot scheme that aims to instil a positive appreciation for new starters to the industry for mental wellbeing. It will provide awareness training to 1,000 apprenticeships, and is working alongside Rainy Day Trust to provide free tools and laptops to those struggling in their apprenticeships sue to been unable to afford these items
  • A project called Mind Builder that connects people in the industry with wellbeing content.

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