Last week I had the privilege of speaking at the Building Mental Health inaugural #TimeToTalk symposium. Building Mental Health is a industry-wide framework for the construction sector, with instructor training funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and supported by The Lighthouse Club with an app and helpline.
Building Mental Health as an initiative is very special and pretty unique. As an industry they are working together across commercial boundaries to share resources and best practices to build healthier workplaces within the building trades.
"With 2.1 million people employed in your sector - you have created a unique approach across your industry to make a real difference to people’s live," - @Simonablake speaking at the inaugural #BuildingMentalHealthSymposium earlier this morning. https://t.co/0ZDn1Mm6fY pic.twitter.com/0WTZbZtUOH— Mental Health First Aid England (@MHFAEngland) February 7, 2019
Why is this initiative important?
Two people in the construction industry die by suicide every working day of the year. And with over 2.1 million people working in the construction industry – an industry that is traditionally more about physical health than mental health, with workers who often see asking for help as a weakness – there is a clear and compelling case for Building Mental Health.
What is Building Mental Health?
A Mental Health Charter along with a combination of mental health awareness training, mental health first aiders and instructors, and access to a web portal, an app and a helpline.
How is it happening?
A bold vision and a healthy mix of pragmatism and determination; funding from the Construction Industry Training Board; and an impressive collaboration of key players across the industry who are guardians of the programme and who credit its success to date to the extraordinary commitment of large numbers of people.
Having the opportunity to speak to approximately 70 of those extraordinarily committed people, all of whom are MHFA England instructors, was humbling. Concluding my speech I said this:
‘What you are doing is bold, it is brave, it is necessary. It is pioneering and it is wonderful. As Margaret Meade said ‘don’t ever think a group of committed citizens can’t change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has. And that is what being part of the MHFA England and global community is about – changing the world. Thank you for all you do.’
You can find out more about Building Mental Health at their website buildingmentalhealth.net.