HomeLatest NewsBuilders’ charity expands counselling service

Builders’ charity expands counselling service

A national builders’ charity has expanded the support it offers to tradespeople after figures indicated that the suicide rate amongst construction workers in the UK has increased for the fifth year in a row.

Figures from the team at Glasgow Caledonian University’s (GCU) Built Environment Asset Management (BEAM) Centre – in conjunction with the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity – found that the suicide rate for construction occupations in 2021 rose to 33.82 per 100,000. This figure has risen steadily from 25.52 per 100,000 in 2015 when the figures were first compiled.

In a bid to tackle this crisis in the UK construction industry, a free mental health and wellbeing platform has been launched for construction workers or their immediately families, who can use it at any time to get help thanks to the Big Brew, a campaign organised by Band of Builders (BoB).
The Big Brew is funding a partnership with Spectrum.Life, which will encourage tradespeople who are experiencing anxiety, depression, loneliness, relationship issues, self-harm, suicidal thoughts or any other trauma to take the all-important first step of seeking help.

Tradespeople can self-refer at any time through the charity’s website and receive confidential counselling via freephone, live chat, WhatsApp, SMS or a call back.

Peter Cape, Big Brew lead at BoB – which was founded in 2016 to help members of the UK construction industry who are battling illness or injury through the completion of practical projects carried out by volunteers – said the charity has been compelled to increase the provision it offers in a bid to turn the tide of the mental health crisis in the construction industry.

“The BEAM data is distressing – especially when you compare it to all other professions, where the suicide rate is 9.14 per 100,000,” said Mr Cape.

“As well as throwing the spotlight on the issue, we have been able to fundraise to introduce services including a dedicated text service where construction workers can text BOB to 85258. This has proved to be an important lifeline for the construction industry.

“We also introduced a counselling service last year – but we recognised that we could offer more, and the new partnership with Spectrum.Life means we can offer a much broader level of support.”

The new Volunteer Assistance Programme has been designed to support people who find themselves struggling with issues including depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, relationship and marital problems, and financial issues.

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