The construction industry has been in the news a lot recently for a number of reasons. One of the positive reasons was the launch of Mates in Mind last year; it shone a spotlight on the need to support those in the industry more, particularly with regards to mental health and reducing the stigma around this.

The National Counselling Society (NCS) are delighted to have partnered with Mates in Mind to offer fixed rate counselling sessions for construction workers who are linked to the Mates in Mind programme.

Why the construction industry?

There are some shocking statistics which really highlight the need for action to be taken and real changes to be made in the industry. Below are a couple of reasons why Mates in Mind started and why the NCS are supporting them:

· construction workers are 6 times more likely to die by suicide than from falls (i)

· suicides among low-skilled male construction workers are nearly 4 times above the national average (ii)

Mates in Mind are working hard to raise awareness and understanding of mental health and mental ill-health within the construction industry; they want to break the silence and stigma surrounding these important areas. They have shared some insights into the industry to provide a better understanding of some of the challenges faced by those in the industry:

"Construction has some highly stressful challenges. Companies cite tough clients, a culture of confrontation, low margins, penalties in the supply chain and potentially bankrupting delays in payments. The need for closer collaboration between project participants and the adoption of new ways of scheduling work can be met with resistance. But while we cannot create an overnight cultural shift, we can agree to take action on health, not just safety, and in particular mental health."

Mates in Mind and National Counselling Society partnership

The NCS believe it is vital for construction workers to not only talk about their mental health openly but to also have access to affordable counselling and information when they are at home or working away. The NCS is very clear that 'one-size' certainly does not fit all when it comes to counselling so it is important that individuals have a real choice when they are deciding on a counsellor. The NCS' Accredited Register of counsellors, based across the whole of the UK, aims to provide this choice.

Both Mates in Mind and the NCS are aiming to reach out and support as many people as possible in the industry.

If you are a construction worker and have a Mates in Mind card, you can find a counsellor on the NCS' find a counsellor page. Simply type in your area or select online counselling and use the 'charities we work with' filter option.

If you are a construction worker and want to find out more about the Mates in Mind programme and how to get involved, you can find further information on the Mates in Mind website.

(i) Mates in Mind

(ii) Office of National Statistics 2017

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