All safe minds

Mental fitness is as important as physical well-being according to our H&S chief Mark French

Mental well-being is a hot topic, and at last we’re seeing a massive shift in attitudes towards those who battle with mental illness. But despite major steps in the right direction, the construction sector still has a lot of work to do – especially when it comes to the age-old problem of getting men to talk about how they feel.

In 2010, we introduced the All Safe culture-change initiative to oversee the physical health of our colleagues on site. But recent studies commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) found that certain groups of male construction workers were at greatest risk of suicide, with figures at a staggering 3.7 times above the national average.

With this in mind, it was more essential than ever that we act quickly to promote mental health in the same way as we do physical health, so earlier this year we launched All Safe Minds; a campaign to ensure that vulnerable workers are able to tap into a variety of recognised resources as quickly, easily and privately as possible.

Modern life can sometimes be overwhelming, with men and women often feeling the pressure of home-life, work, finances and relationships but not feeling able to talk about it. All Safe Minds aims to instill a memorable 3-step process – the ‘3 Rs’ – into our daily work culture, encouraging all employees to:

  • RECOGNISE - Be aware if they or someone they know is struggling to cope. Know the signs.
  • REACH OUT - Start the conversation. If you are struggling, start by talking to someone you trust. Or if you know a colleague is struggling, offer your support – simply lending an ear can make all the difference.
  • REBUILD - Use the resources available to you to start taking back control.

The All Safe Minds campaign will develop throughout 2018 as we continue to raise awareness via the UK trade media. See link on right for more on All Safe Minds.

Mark is head of Health, safety and environment at Willmott Dixon and champions All Safe Minds; a campaign to support the mental fitness of construction colleagues across the UK