While we know the construction industry is a pillar of economic growth in the UK with its many residential and commercial projects ready to start, we often seem to brush over mental health issues and concerns, as the demand for construction workers is at an all-time high.


In this latest ORB blog, we delve beneath completed residential projects and explore mental health in the construction industry.


From the stigma around asking for support to the pressure of tight deadlines.


The ORB Mechanical and Electrical team want to shed light on the multiple issues affecting the well-being of our industry today.


Let’s explore mental health issues in construction.


Mental Health in UK Construction, The Statistics


Please note the below contains mentions of suicide.

Four in five suicides are by men, with suicide being the biggest cause of death for men under the age of 35 according to the UK Government.

In 2020, construction workers were at some of the highest risk of suicide.  According to the Office for National Statistics, this is 3.7% higher than the national average.

Construction work has a variety of pressures that can affect an individual, such as:


  • High stress levels, operating under tight deadlines and demanding schedules.
  • Physical demand, can require long hours of labour work and physical strain.
  • Job security, the nature of construction work often revolves around moving from project to project or being employed as a contractor.
  • Mental health stigma, there is a stigma within the construction industry around discussing mental health issues and often seeking help.
  • Financial pressures, such as concerns around low wages or irregular income can add additional strain.
  • Injury, construction work carries inherent risks of injury, which can have significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences.
  • Lack of work-life balance, long hours, and irregular schedules in the construction industry can make it challenging for workers to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


48% of the construction workforce have taken time off work due to unmanageable stress according to Mates in Mind.


What Can the Construction Industry Now Implement?


  1. Mental Health Awareness Programs


Try implementing training sessions and workshops to help raise awareness about mental health issues and how to spot signs amongst your employees and colleagues. Such programs are planned to reduce stigma, increase understanding, and encourage individuals to open up about their feelings.


  1. EAPs (Employee Assistance Programs)


Such programs can provide counselling services and resources to help employees deal with personal or work-related issues, including mental health.


Check out Mates in Mind, a leading UK charity that’s raising awareness by addressing the stigma of poor mental health in construction.


  1. Supportive Work Environment


A supportive work environment is crucial for promoting mental well-being. This includes fostering a culture of openness and understanding, providing resources for stress management, and encouraging work-life balance.


  1. Training For Upper Management and Supervisors


Supervisors and management play a key role in supporting employees’ mental health. Many construction companies are providing training to help supervisors and managers spot the signs of mental distress and respond accordingly.


  1. Access To Mental Health Resources


Construction companies are increasingly offering access to mental health resources such as counselling services, support groups, and online self-help tools.


Concluding Mental Health in Construction


The statistics paint a concerning picture, revealing that construction workers face significant risks to their mental well-being, with suicide rates higher than the UK national average.


Factors such as physical demand, high-stress levels, job insecurity, stigma, financial pressures, and lack of work-life balance have highly contributed to this ongoing issue.


There’s a growing call for mental health considerations to be integrated into construction contracts, highlighting the importance of prioritising mental well-being alongside physical safety on construction sites.


Furthermore, the industry should implement strategies to aid mental health, including mental health awareness programs, employee assistance programs (EAPs), fostering supportive work environments, upper management training and providing access to mental health resources.


Ultimately, addressing mental health in construction will require a shift in mindset and practices within this industry.


We need to start promoting a culture of openness, understanding and proactive support for the mental well-being of workers.


Through these efforts, we may see the construction skills gap closing, but also, strive towards creating a healthier and more resilient workforce.


Keep up to date with the ORB Mechanical and Electrical team across socials.  

Catch up on the latest ORB news.