NFDC Mental Health and Wellbeing programme

During 2018 and in the 2019 yearbook, Demolition and Dismantling featured news surrounding the topic of Mental Health in the Construction Industry.  The NFDC has clearly identified mental health and the wellbeing of its members and their employees as a key strategic focus for 2019; and following the announcement at the recent NFDC AGM I’m delighted to share more information about the programme and what it will deliver to you.

At the end of 2018 the NFDC, on behalf of its members, signed the Building Mental Health Charter, making a commitment to improving mental health in our industry. In a report commissioned by the UK government, the Construction Industry has been cited as an industry that suffers from higher than average mental ill-health and the NFDC recognises the importance in helping you address this.

The statistics surrounding mental ill-health speak for themselves and I’m sure everyone is now conscious of the findings from Construction News Mental Health Survey which found that 55% of construction workers have experienced mental ill-health issues and that 42% had suffered these issues at their current place of work. However, are you aware of the stark reality that every single day in the UK two construction workers take their own life?

These figures highlight the alarming problem the construction industry faces when considering the wellbeing of employees and I’m sure no one disagrees that the NFDC is right to act and provide its Members with the tools to address mental ill-health in your business.

The Government-sponsored Thriving at Work report estimates that mental ill-health costs employers between £33 billion and £42 billion a year through failing to manage employee’ mental health that then cause a number of other organisational problems. These include sickness absence, poor employee morale, increased mistakes and reduced productivity to name but a few.

As a Federation that supports your needs, a programme has been designed to provide you with the tools to improve the mental health and wellbeing of your employees; with studies showing that improved employee wellbeing results in improved workplace performance which in turn significantly benefits the bottom line of businesses.

Employees who are in good physical and mental health will be more engaged, more motivated more productive, more resilient, less prone to absenteeism or presenteeism (which includes improved individual output) and more likely to stay with the business.

As Lawrence Waterman OBE, Chairman of the British Safety Council stated, “Wellbeing isn’t a substitute for good health & safety; it’s at the heart of an effective, integrated, well-resourced health & safety programme”.

The NFDC Mental Health and Wellbeing programme has been intentionally mapped against industry standards ensuring it delivers a comprehensive and accessible syllabus which is open to all members. On signing the Building Mental Health Charter, the NFDC committed, on behalf of you the members, to adopt the principles of the charter, namely:

  • Proving awareness and understanding of the impact of poor mental ill health and promoting positive mental health through facilitated workshops with the aims of a) reducing stigma and discrimination; and b) encouraging conversation in the workplace.
  • Educating and enabling champions from across the workforce to support keeping our people safe.
  • Providing access to accredited Mental Health First Aid training and providing assistance to signpost workers to support.
  • Recognising and accepting education and training provided by peers and Building Mental Health partners.

The NFDC programme has been designed to not only fulfil the obligations and principles of the charter but to go beyond, ensuring all members have access to an ongoing curriculum of mental health and wellbeing training and resources. It is also worth noting that this is in addition to the Mental Health First Aid Training that is being provided by the NDTG.

So, what does this mean to you?

In essence the programme has three core elements. The first being a half day Mental Health awareness workshop for managers, the second a full day workshop for a nominated Wellbeing Ambassador within your business and the third, the creation and distribution of Mental Health and Wellbeing resources which will be distributed on a quarterly basis to your Wellbeing ambassador. By joining together these three elements the NFDC is providing you with a mental health and wellbeing strategy which demonstrates the highest standard of mental health and wellbeing initiatives.

Mental Health Awareness Workshop

The half day workshop is an introductory session for managers specifically designed to raise awareness of Mental Health and furthermore provide managers with the confidence to support a colleague who may be experiencing mental health issues. Now that the Construction Industry has ‘Started the Conversation’, it is vital that managers have the skills to listen and respond accordingly to the early warning signs of poor mental health, thus enabling them to provide timely and proactive support.

Last year a survey of 950 managers in the UK by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found that 49 per cent of respondents had never received any training on managing mental health problems and at the same time 51 per cent of managers reported that they have had a member of staff disclose a mental health problem. A significant amount of those reported problems included common issues such as stress, anxiety and depression. In context, this means that 62 per cent of managers who have had a member of their team disclose a mental health problem to them had never received any training in dealing with mental ill-health.

This Continuous Personal Development (CPD) accredited course will address these issues by providing managers with:

  • An understanding of what mental health is, it’s prevalence and the stigma associated with it
  • A summary of some of the common mental health problems and potential causes of mental ill-health both at home and work
  • The common signs and symptoms to be aware of both with colleagues and oneself
  • The confidence to start the conversation and support colleagues when addressing mental health problems including areas to think about in improving mental health
  • Signposting and professional support
  • Certified 3 hours of CPD

Wellbeing Ambassador Workshop

This full day workshop is designed to be delivered to a nominated wellbeing ambassador from your business. The role of the ambassador is to lead the wellbeing strategy and support & promote good mental health and wellbeing amongst employees.

Wellbeing is an amalgamation of multiple facets that impact the health of individuals and your ambassador will receive training and develop a greater understanding of the three main areas: Mind, Body and Emotions. Each of these areas are interrelated, with each one affecting the other and the wellbeing ambassador will be provided with ways of enhancing all three.

The morning session will provide ambassadors with the same training as that of managers who attend the mental health awareness workshop (Managers who previously attended a mental health awareness workshop only need only attend a half day wellbeing ambassador workshop). However, in addition, the ambassador will receive training on:

  • Overall wellbeing focusing on the three main areas – Mind, Body, Emotions
  • Resilience building strategies
  • Science-based and scientifically validated self-regulation tools and techniques to reduce stress, increase energy levels and improve health and wellbeing
  • Delivery of a Mental Health Awareness Toolbox talk to Start the Conversation

In addition to the training, ambassadors will also receive pocket cards to distribute within their business which signpost organisations & charities employees can contact if they are concerned about their mental health as well as promotional material which can be displayed in communal areas.

Creation of a Yearly Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Campaign

As part of the mental health and wellbeing programme, on a quarterly basis the wellbeing ambassadors will be furnished with information, promotional material and, where possible, additional toolbox talks to continue developing and advancing the mental health and wellbeing strategy within your business.  To ensure maximum the exposure of these ongoing quarterly initiatives, whenever the opportunity exists, these assets will coincide with national campaigns such as Time to Talk, Stress Awareness Month, World Suicide Prevention Day, Wellbeing Week etc.

The ultimate aim of this initiative and programme is to provide you with all the knowledge and tools you’ll need to deliver a mental health and wellbeing programme within your business.

As I hope you’ll agree the NFDC has now established a framework to help your business and the industry support your staff and tackle a crisis that is claiming the lives of as many as two UK construction workers each week. It’s now down to you, the members to engage!

The programme is due to go-live with the first workshops scheduled for June ‘19 and to ensure all members can benefit each region will be visited and a series of both the mental health awareness and ambassador workshops programmed. In addition, the mental health awareness workshop will be delivered during DemoExpo 2019.

Please, take this opportunity, support the mental health and wellbeing of your most important assets, your people!

Dave Price

Managing Director

Vector Equilibrium Ltd