At any work organisation, it is vital to be given inductions and training around our physical safety, such as safety on sites, manual handling and lifting. When it’s visible that someone’s not well, naturally we become concerned and speak up. Whose decision is it for there not to be just as much done regarding our emotional and mental safety?
How many of us take the extra time to listen to how someone really is when we greet them with “you alright?” or ask them “how are you?”. Is there enough of us noticing any ‘invisible’ differences?
According to The Office For National Statistics¹, in 2016 5,965 people committed suicide in the UK. 454 of which from the construction industry.
Mental health is becoming a more and more spoken about topic in today’s society; however, this does not mean it’s spoken about enough.
We work in a fast moving, high-pressured and challenging industry, with on-site workers, in particular, working long hours. Therefore, it comes to no surprise that people feel as though they ‘need’ to keep on going. Unfortunately, not everyone realises that it is ok to stop and it’s always more than ok to speak out about how you feel- sadly this is more common with men.
For a modern world where we are becoming more conscious about gender equality, the industry is still quite male dominated- which tends to reflect the ‘tough guy’ image, typically resulting in the ‘silent epidemic’.
One of the easiest and simplest way to start taking action is to speak up. Take more time to notice and look around you:
- Does anyone sound different when they speak? Are they easily overwhelmed or unenthusiastic?
- Do they tend to keep more to themselves?
- Are they taking longer to complete tasks or struggling to work on more than one thing?
- On the other hand, it could be someone who genuinely always seems happy and positive.
Everyone is different and everyone ‘hides’ their feelings differently but sometimes it’s simply the smallest acts that can make a difference.
The next time you notice anyone being ‘off’, don’t take it personally and make judgements- “everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” -Robin Williams.
Some of us feel comfortable talking to family or friends, but others may find it more difficult to open up for various reasons. Whether you or anyone you know wants to reach out for support, support can always be found. Please see below a list of a few to help: