Key Points

Mental Health and Safety in the Workplace

Mental health in construction is a crucial issue that demands attention, especially in an industry where the intersection of mental health and safety is so profound. Construction workers and skilled tradespeople face high rates of suicide, isolation, and the physical and emotional demands of their jobs, making mental health support an essential component of workplace safety, and is often overlooked. Construction workers suffer from as much as five times the mental health challenges as those in other professions.

Legence is committed to fostering a culture that prioritizes the well-being of all employees. This blog explores the critical role of mental health in construction to help contractors and business leaders shape a supportive and safe work environment.  

By understanding and addressing mental health issues that overwhelm skilled tradespeople, general contractors, leaders of organizations, and HR management can enhance safety, improve productivity, and create a healthier, more resilient workforce. Join us as we delve into the strategies and frameworks needed to make mental health a priority in the construction industry.

The Intersection of Safety and Mental Health in Construction

Understanding the Mental Health Challenges in Construction

Construction work is known for its demanding nature. Long hours, physical strain, and isolation are all part of the job. But all of these can contribute to an often overlooked, aspect: compromised mental health. Construction workers face some of the highest suicide rates of any profession, and this stark reality underscores the importance of addressing mental health and safety in the workplace.

In the construction industry, mental health challenges are common: workers often deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. The pressures of meeting tight deadlines and working in isolated conditions can take a toll on their mental well-being.  

These issues are rarely discussed, creating a culture where mental health struggles are kept hidden. But it’s time to change that. By bringing these challenges to light, we can foster a work environment where mental health is prioritized alongside physical safety.

The Role of General Contractors and Leadership

General contractors, leaders of organizations, and HR management play a crucial role in shaping the work environment and supporting employee mental health. It’s imperative to understand that mental health and safety in the workplace are intertwined.  

When workers are mentally healthy, they are more focused, productive, and safer on the job. This directly impacts project timelines and overall safety records.

Management and executive leadership are also key players. They are responsible for setting up HR resources and fostering a safe culture. By implementing workplace mental health initiatives, they can support construction workers' mental health and create a more resilient workforce.  

This involves not only providing mental health resources but also promoting an open dialogue about mental health at work. Leaders should encourage employees to speak up about their mental health conditions without fear of stigma, job loss, or retaliation.

Current Efforts and Frameworks in Place

Several companies, like Therma, a Legence Company, are already taking steps to address mental health in the construction industry by developing resources to provide mental health support to their workers, such as a dedicated webpage and crisis volunteer program. These initiatives are crucial in making mental health care accessible to all employees.

A robust framework for reporting mental health issues is also essential. Workers need to know how to recognize signs of mental distress in themselves and their peers. Training should be provided on how to report these concerns to HR or supervisors without fear of retaliation, and this process should be straightforward and well-communicated so that everyone knows how to access help.

Ongoing conversations and regular check-ins are vital. Addressing mental health should not be a one-time HR measure but an ongoing part of workplace safety. Regular discussions about mental health can help normalize these conversations and make workers feel more comfortable seeking help.

De-Stigmatizing Mental Health in the Construction Industry

De-stigmatizing mental health issues in construction is another critical step. Sharing statistics and personal stories can help. For example, understanding that construction workers are five times more likely to experience mental health challenges than those in other industries punctuates the urgency of the issue and the need for action.

Personal testimonies from workers who have dealt with mental health issues can also be powerful. When team members share their experiences, it creates a safe space for others to share as well.

Fear of job loss is a significant barrier to seeking help, so much so that workers might be scared that admitting to mental health struggles will jeopardize their jobs. It’s crucial to emphasize that anonymous reporting is available and that there will be no retaliation for seeking help. Companies need to create a supportive environment where workers feel safe to speak up.

Creating a supportive mental health environment involves more than just offering resources—it means actively promoting a culture of openness and support. This can be done through peer support programs, where workers are trained to support each other and recognize signs of mental distress. It also involves regular training for supervisors and HR staff on how to handle mental health issues.

The Bottom Line

In the construction industry, mental health and safety go hand in hand. Addressing mental health challenges and providing the necessary support can significantly improve workplace safety, employee morale, and overall productivity. General contractors, leaders, and HR management must prioritize mental health alongside physical safety to ensure optimal employee well-being.

Legence is leading the way in creating a supportive mental health environment for all employees. By implementing workplace mental health initiatives, fostering open communication, and providing accessible resources, they are making significant strides in supporting employee mental health.

It’s time for all of us in the construction industry to recognize the importance of mental health at work. By addressing mental health issues head-on, we can create a healthier, safer, and more productive work environment for everyone. Let’s make mental health a priority, not just for today, but every day.

Learn more about our legion of companies making meaningful change in safety and well-being in the built environment.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Our Impact

Taking action for meaningful progress.

We are laying the groundwork to bring our legion of companies to a prescribed level of excellence so we can work in tandem to build efficiency into our operations and the built environment.
View Report