10.10.19

NASC Marks World Mental Health Day

The NASC is marking World Mental Health Day by reminding scaffolding industry employers and employees that free advice and guidance is available to anyone who needs it.

Reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and raising awareness of the various support services available have been key objectives of the NASC’s Head for Heights campaign, launched last year.

One of the key achievements of this campaign has been the production of SG38:19, a dedicated mental health and wellbeing policy guidance. This document is intended to help employers adopt a clear approach to mental health provision and includes advice, resources and contact details of other organisations who can provide support.

It is free to download from the NASC website.

The NASC has also produced a mental health toolbox talk, which was circulated to its 300+ members. This short presentation gives members a way of starting a conversation on mental health with their employees.

Guest speakers have delivered mental health presentations at NASC regional meetings held across England and Scotland, helping to convey the importance and need for action to be taken face-to-face.

The NASC has also signed the Building Mental Health Charter and Time to Change Employer Pledge as part of its ongoing drive to promote positive mental health practices.

The CISRS scaffolder training scheme has also played its part in the Head for Heights campaign by adding a mental health module into all CISRS courses.

Increasing provision of mental health and wellbeing support was one of the key objectives of NASC President and TRAD Group CEO Des Moore, who suffered mental health issues earlier in his career and has spoken very candidly about this experience with a view to helping others.

This objective – which was realised in the form of the NASC Head for Heights campaign – gained further impetus after statistics published in 2018 revealed the scale of mental health issues suffered by people working in the scaffolding and access and wider construction industries – and the fatal consequences they often bring.

Every year more than 400 construction workers commit suicide. Stress, anxiety and depression also account for a fifth of all work-related illnesses.

Additionally, a Construction News ‘Mind Matters’ survey revealed that 55% of respondents had experienced mental health issues and one in four workers had considered taking their life.

The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity also revealed that demand for its range of support services was rising and that more than 18% of those it provided financial assistance to were scaffolders and roofers.

Robin James, NASC Managing Director, said: “Mental health is a huge issue in the scaffolding and access industry but sadly one that has often gone by without notice. As the trade body for scaffolding and access in the UK, we were determined to help change the status quo, which is why we launched the Head for Heights campaign.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response we’ve received from our members, who have downloaded the SG38 guidance in their droves, delivered the mental health toolbox talk on sites across the UK, engaged with the mental health guest speakers at the NASC regional meetings and pushed us to do more to bring about change.

“Today being World Mental Health Day is a good excuse to take stock of our outputs and achievements to date but it is by no means the end of the Head for Heights campaign. We encourage the entire industry to get involved and let us know what we can do to further support them in raising awareness of mental health issues.”

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