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17 May 2024 < Back

Supporting emotional wellbeing within the construction industry

In this guest blog and in line with Mental Health Awareness Week, Sarah Bolton, the CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, discusses the emotional wellbeing challenges faced every day within the workforce, as well as sharing how the Lighthouse Charity can help and support those struggling with poor emotional wellbeing.

There is a significant challenge facing the construction industry. 

Construction can be a dangerous industry to work in. The nature of the job means that, no matter how well-run any company's Health and Safety department is, there will always be accidents and incidents on site. 

However, as physical injury risks have diminished, what has become increasingly obvious is that the industry needs more support with the emotional wellbeing challenges that our workforce faces every day. This is demonstrated by the massive 30% increase in the number of families contacting our helpline for support last year and that trend is continuing.

There is significant evidence that the cost-of-living crisis is increasing pressure on our workforce with 24% of our helpline callers seeking financial support. The mental health charity Mind recently conducted a study and nearly half of the people they spoke to say that the cost-of-living crisis has impacted their mental health and more than 20% are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed due to the added pressure.

Our construction industry is affected more than most by mental health. Two construction workers take their own lives every working day and those suicide rates are three times higher than the average industry.

But we’re here to say - If you’re struggling, help is here. 

How the Lighthouse Charity can help

Charities such as ours, the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, have developed and evolved to meet the needs of a changing construction industry. We provide advice and counselling to those struggling with their emotional wellbeing. And we also offer financial support to those in the construction industry and their families. That can be covering the rent while you get back on your feet or paying for your weekly shop.

Last year alone we delivered:

  • 5,411 emergency meals to construction families who were struggling to pay for their shopping
  • 3,979 online and face-to-face counselling sessions for construction workers and their families
  • Supplied training sessions around emotional, physical and financial wellbeing topics to 3,606 workers
  • £10.06 in social value for every £1 of Charitable Spend*
  • Face-to-face on-site ‘team talks’ about mental health to almost 26,000 site operatives.

Martyn's story

Someone we recently supported, Martyn, is a 36-year-old with two decades of experience in the construction industry. He started his career at the age of 16 through an apprenticeship, eventually specialising as a painter.

Over the last six years, he has worked at various companies, and has now transitioned into management as a site supervisor at Novus.

In 2014, Martyn began to recognise that something didn’t feel right with his mental health, and despite seeking medical advice, the root cause of his struggles remained uncertain. Over the years, his mental health deteriorated further, including personal challenges such as the breakdown of his marriage and a reliance on heavy drinking.

As his life reached a low point last year, he feared the potential consequences for his job security.

Fortunately, recognising the urgency of his situation, his employer recommended that he reach out to us for professional support.

Once he had contacted us and shared his struggles, he was referred to a compassionate therapist who proved to be crucial to Martyn’s emotional recovery. Having encountered similar stories, the therapist was able to conduct a series of counselling sessions to explore the underlying issues affecting his mental health.

Having a better understanding of his challenges, Martyn began the journey towards recovery.

With the support of our team, Martyn successfully weaned himself off medication and learned to openly discuss his mental health challenges. This transformation not only benefitted him personally, but also had a positive ripple effect on his professional life. His peers and colleagues on site now feel comfortable approaching him to discuss their own struggles without fear of judgement. 

Having made significant improvement, Martyn now feels confident about moving forward independently. While he no longer requires the immediate support of our team, he finds comfort in knowing that the door remains open for him to seek help should he need it in the future.

Free and confidential support

We do not receive any public sector funding and we rely on the generosity of the construction industry to help us to help our own. Without our many supporters giving up their personal time to fundraise for us and the companies that commit to an annual donation, we would not be able to provide the invaluable support we do to people like Martyn.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, reach out for free and confidential support now.

24/7 Construction Industry Helplines; 0345 605 1956, (UK)  1800 939 122 (ROI).

Live chat

Text HARDHAT to 85258 (UK) 50808 (ROI)

If you’re interested in becoming a Lighthouse Charity Company Supporter, please visit our website.

*This social value estimation has been carried out against the seven principles of social value reporting developed by Social Value UK and by using the financial proxies provided by the open-source National TOM’s (Themes, Outcomes & Measures) framework. This provides a consistent methodology for attributing a financial value to operational activities, including the positive impact our services and resources have on the people we help and support.



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