Recent reports have highlighted the fact that suicides have increased in the construction industry, with two
construction workers taking their own lives in the UK and Ireland every day. With World Mental Health Day falling on 10th October 2021, Lovell has launched a programme of wellbeing training and we are encouraging our team to become mental health first aiders to raise awareness of mental health across the region.
We are rolling out mental health and wellbeing talks and training on site to operatives, as well as office-based staff. The training includes tips for mental health and wellbeing, and guidance on the importance of listening and keeping an eye out for others who may be suffering. We hope to encourage staff to sign up as mental health first aiders, giving attendees extra training and listening skills, with the two day course endorsed by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England. We also have FIRS (fairness, inclusion and respect) ambassadors, to provide support and talk to anyone from the team when needed.
We caught up with Holly Baker, our health & safety adviser at Lovell, who comments: “Education around mental health is vital, and construction can sometimes be viewed as having a macho image. This needs to be changed. It is so important to try and break down the stigma attached to things like stress, anxiety and depression and change negative attitudes towards mental health. The wellbeing and welfare of all of our team is our top priority and, with the right training, support and culture, we hope to support everyone at Lovell so they know there are people to support them and because mental health can affect anyone.”
Lovell has had ‘quiet rooms’ across its sites for many years, places where everyone on site can go to have some space and relax, as project manager, Stuart Middleton, explains: “Our site at Acle has a quiet space that the team can access privately whenever they need. It has books, a kitchen for making a hot drink and having a biscuit, phone numbers so they know where to turn to in times of need, and the opportunity to just get away for a while. We also allow visitors to access these areas on the sites.”
We also have a community garden at our St Edmund’s Park site at Acle, something the staff created themselves to promote a sense of wellbeing, where they have grown fruit, vegetables and flowers during the summer.
We also adopted wristbands with different colours, so people know how comfortable people are with physical distancing.