ASW Property Services, a property services specialist, has unveiled a strategy designed to support employees with mental health conditions.
The new initiative comes after the Office for National Statistics recently published figures showing the suicide rate in the construction industry is higher than in any other profession.
As part of the company’s mental health awareness campaign, ASW now offers mental health and stress awareness sessions for its employees. The project kick-started with Mental Health in Construction sessions run by the Working Well Together (WWT) group, as part of its white van tour campaign for 2018 and Gofal, a leading mental health and wellbeing charity.
ASW also provide information packs and videos on the mental health support available as part of its company induction and site induction, given to all new starters (both office and site based) and sub-contractors.
Showing commitment to the project long-term, the company has recently pledged an annual donation to The Lighthouse Club, a charity that provides financial and emotional support to the construction community and their families and will organise a Lighthouse Day next year to raise funds for the charity.
The company has also trained two staff as mental health first aiders. Linzi Chellew and Carl Woodward are trained to offer support sessions and give advice to employees (and sub-contractors) suffering from mental health issues. Linzi Chellew said, “I have worked in the construction industry for over 10 years, and I have seen first-hand how the pressure of dealing with mental health conditions can impact an employee. As construction is seen as a male-dominated industry, there comes the stereotypical expectation that males do not tend to talk about emotions in the same way females do, and that mental ill-health is a sign of weakness, forming a stigma.
“This stigma stops people getting the help they need and therefore poses a risk. Like any risk, ideally it should be eliminated and we as a company are passionate about breaking down the barriers and making this happen. The statistics available are shocking – this really hit home, becoming the main driving force behind ASW’s mental health awareness campaign. We are currently developing our policies to reflect mental health awareness and to highlight the support we offer as a company to all employees and sub-contractors working on our sites.”