Featured image for article about stress in the construction industry. Image shows three sets of ear defenders on wall hooks.

April marks Stress Awareness Month, an annual event dedicated to highlighting both the causes and cures for stress. 

After a particularly challenging couple of years, it’s more vital than ever to ensure the help and resources are there for anyone who may be struggling with their mental health. 

Construction, in particular, has found it more difficult than most other sectors when it comes to addressing the mental well-being of its workforce, with research commissioned by Toolstation finding that 72% of those working in construction feel there isn’t enough being done in the industry to support their mental health. 

Advice for dealing with stress

While there are no ‘quick fixes’ for getting rid of stress, the NHS has compiled a list of 10 tools and techniques to help address it. These are:

  • Be Active: Exercise can help reduce emotional intensity, clearing your thoughts and helping you deal with situations more calmly.
  • Take Control: Try not to remain passive in situations, taking control can help you find a solution that satisfies yourself rather than someone else.
  • Connect with people: A good support network can ease work troubles and help you see things in a different way.
  • Have some ‘me time’: Try and set aside at least a couple of nights a week to do something you enjoy.
  • Challenge yourself: Whether it’s at work or in your personal life, completing challenges will help build confidence. 
  • Avoid unhealthy habits: Avoid turning to things like alcohol, smoking or caffeine, as these crutches will just create new problems.
  • Help others: Evidence shows that people who take time to help others become more resilient. 
  • Work smarter, not harder: Try and prioritise your work and concentrate on the things that will make a real difference. 
  • Try to be positive: Look for things that you’re grateful for. 
  • Accept things you can’t change: Sometimes you simply won’t be able to change a difficult situation, so try to concentrate on the things you can control.

What is being done to support mental health in construction?

While the alarming statistics prove there is still much to be done, a number of organisations are doing crucial work to raise awareness and provide much-needed resources and advice to those struggling. 

For example, Toolstation has created ‘The World’s Most Supportive Poster’—a huge billboard offering immediate support to tradespeople struggling with their mental health. Construction workers are encouraged to scan a QR code which gives them access to instant, confidential advice from a trained expert from the Lighthouse Club charity. 

The Construction News Mind Matters survey has been launched to help form a picture of the current state of mental health support in the industry, calling on people to share their own experiences to help shape meaningful change. 

Mates in Mind is another organisation raising awareness and promoting mental health services within the workplace, with a particular focus on the construction industry. Working alongside partnering businesses, they help to provide employers with the tools they need to care for the mental health of their teams. 

The Construction Industry Training Board has also worked alongside the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and Mental Health First Aid England, providing funding to train over 260 Mental Health First Aid Instructors