It happened to me: Why it’s good to talk about mental health

by | Dec 21, 2023

Members share personal experiences from on and off site to raise awareness of real-life issues affecting people working in the industry

This year I participated in Movember – an annual event involving growing moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, which includes mental  health.

I was part of a group of 12 men within my company who participated to raise funds for two causes in the Cork area – Lisheens House, a community health centre which looks after mental health service in West Cork and a cancer treatment day ward in Cork University Hospital.

The mental health element is a huge challenge in such a male-dominated industry as the construction industry to face that topic and have open conversations about it.

My company has worked hard to spread the message that help is available and I am one of a group of mental health first aiders within the company.

There are also wider supports, with the Lighthouse Club being one of these. While Lisheens House is more local and more relatable to our company’s workforce, spreading the message on the likes of mental health can be tough.

During the month of November while participating in Movember our company has had far more open conversations with employees, which have been triggered by talking about moustaches.

While the moustaches have been the source of conversations and jokes, it has enabled ways to open up conversations about mental health issues and what facilities are available.

From this initiative I now wonder if the industry can find similar ways and initiatives to lighten difficult topics and facilitate more genuine conversations with employees and the wider workforce.

Help is always at hand

Lighthouse Club – The Lighthouse Club, the Construction Industry Charity, supported by the CIF, offers a FREE 24/7 confidential employee assistance helpline and app for everyone in the Irish construction industry. The Helpline can be called anytime on 1800 939 122, and the app ‘Construction Industry Helpline’ can be downloaded for free from Apple and Google Play app store.

Build Health – ‘Build Health’ is a joint initiative between the CIF, Laya Healthcare and Spectrum Life that can support both employers and employees. See www. wellbeing.spectrum.life/cif/ for more

Construction Workers’ Sick Pay Trust – The trust is committed to the promotion of better health, including mental health and wellbeing for all workers in the construction sector. For information on how to claim, please visit www.cwspt.ie or email sickpay@ cwspt.ie or call 01-4977663.

50808 – The Health Services Executive offers a text-based mental health service. A free 24/7 text service providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through mental health or emotional crisis. For free 24/7 support in a crisis, free text ‘HELLO’ to 50808.

Pieta House – To speak with a therapist any time, day, or night, freephone 1800 247 247 or text ‘HELP’ to 51444.

Aware – Freephone Aware’s Support Line is available Monday to Sunday from 10am – 10pm on 1800 80 48 48 or email: [email protected]

Samaritans – If you need someone to talk to, the Samaritans can provide one-to-one help 24-hours per day. Freephone 116 123 or email: [email protected]

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