Building Strong Minds: Men’s Health Week

Building Strong Minds: Men’s Health Week

June 2024

The construction industry, known for its demanding physical labour and rigorous schedules, is one of the most challenging sectors to work in. While the focus is often on safety protocols to prevent physical injuries, an equally critical but less visible issue is the mental health of construction workers, particularly men, who form the majority in this field. Addressing mental health in the construction industry is not just about well-being but is crucial for the overall safety and efficiency of the workforce.

As part of International Men’s Health Week (10th — 14th June), we are shining a light on the invisible illness: Mental Health. We interviewed four men from different roles within our company to understand how they managed stress and what could be done to better support mental health.

Jeff, 61, Operations Director, maintains a positive outlook by focusing on life’s bright spots. “I try to switch off from work at the end of each day and spend as much time with my family as I can. I also make sure to get 8 hours of sleep each night. While I’ve always been dedicated to my work, I recognise that this level of commitment can be stressful. Outside of work, I spend time with my family, enjoy nights out with friends, take holidays, and play golf as often as possible!

Providing training for all employees, especially managers and supervisors, on recognising and addressing signs of mental health issues is crucial. Educating workers about mental health, stress management, and available resources is essential.

Jeff, Operations Director.

I believe Kaymac and the wider industry should regularly run campaigns to raise awareness about mental health issues specific to the construction industry. These campaigns should aim to destigmatise mental health problems and encourage seeking help. My advice: It’s okay to feel stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. Accepting your emotions is the first step toward addressing them. Find someone you trust to talk about your feelings, whether it’s a friend, family member, or colleague. Opening up about your struggles can provide relief and help you feel less isolated. If stress becomes unmanageable, don’t hesitate to consult a mental health professional.”

Leon, 21, Level 3 Apprentice, manages stress by spending time with his family and partner, cooking, playing Xbox, watching films, and tinkering in the garage. He shares that working at an unenjoyable job severely impacted his mood, affecting both his work and personal life. To maintain mental health, Leon finds spending time with family and engaging in sports activities like football and running most effective. He believes the construction industry can better support men’s mental health by offering more mental health support days, dedicated staff for discussions, and counselling services. Leon advises others to speak out about their problems and engage in relaxing activities like walks, sports, or socialising.

Terry, 48, Project Engineer, manages stress by spending time in his man cave playing pool with friends and family. He recalls working long hours at a large private company, once for 31 hours straight, which severely impacted his family life and sleep patterns. To maintain mental health, Terry enjoys playing his guitar and flying his drone, which also involves walking in the countryside. He believes the construction industry can better support men’s mental health by promoting open conversations, leading by example, ensuring insurance coverage for mental health services, promoting work-life balance, and creating job security. His advice: “Don’t be afraid to talk to someone; a problem shared is a problem halved.”

Sean, 29, Estimator, “I get home, take the dog for a long walk in a peaceful woodland area, and relax.” High levels of stress affected my sleeping pattern and reduced my output in work and enjoyment of my personal time. Undertaking regular hobbies/ sports with friends and having achievable short and long-term goals. The industry can better educate everyone on what mental health means and the different issues that can arise from poor mental health within the industry. My advice is to talk to someone you trust and find time to decompress after tough days or times.

These stories highlight that while the construction industry is tough, there are effective ways to manage stress and maintain good mental health. Fostering an open culture, providing counselling and mental health training, and encouraging physical activity and downtime are just some of the crucial steps we here at Kaymac Marine are taking. We are building a supportive environment where every man feels empowered to speak up and seek help, together creating a healthier, stronger workforce.

This campaign aims to raise awareness of men’s mental health in the construction industry and encourage men to take proactive steps towards their well-being. By sharing real stories and practical advice, we hope to foster a more supportive and understanding environment.

For those needing immediate support, here are some resources:

Let’s build a supportive environment where every man feels empowered to speak up and seek help. Together, we can create a healthier, stronger workforce.