Mates in Mind – mental health charity a year on

1 February 2018 | By James Kenny

On Time to Talk Day 2018 today (1 February) and a year after creation of mental health charity Mates in Mind, executive director Joscelyne Shaw said that awareness of the illness had improved but there was still more work to do.

Shaw said that an increasing amount of health and safety bosses’ time was now being spent on the issue, based on “the feedback she has received” from some parts of the industry.

Time to Talk Day 2018 brings a message that no matter where you are – at home, at work or out and about – you can have a conversation about mental health.

Speaking to CM, Shaw added that despite progress, there were still barriers to asking for help in construction.

“We know that in many cases, people who are struggling will not reach out to their co-workers, managers, HR, or even professional support services – often not until a point of crisis,” she said.

David White, group health and safety director at Galliford Try, told CM the contractor had trained the 25 ambassadors for its mental health programme from all operational levels, and had badged its roll out as “Start the conversation”.

“A positive culture of openness and support is becoming increasingly evident within the business and 2018 will see continued progress to meet our initial goal of reaching the first 1,000 workers with the message of mental fitness and wellbeing,” he said.

Martin Worthington, Morgan Sindall’s safety, health environment, and quality director, said: “Whilst mental health issues affect people from all backgrounds, it is a well-documented fact that construction workers are a particularly at-risk group, so we are focused on doing everything we can to ensure we have robust support systems in place for our employees.

“The wider construction industry has recognised the challenge that it faces, and needs to work with partners to achieve a cohesive approach that doesn’t complicate matters.”

Worthington said that mental health occupied around a fifth of his typical working week.

Mates for Mind launched last year, backed by major contractors including Willmott Dixon, Morgan Sindall and Galliford Try, with a campaign to reach 100,000 construction workers in its first year. For 2018 it plans further work with trade and industry bodies, with SMEs a key target.

Image: Ocusfocus/

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At Area Sq we are taking this seriously and looking to help all of our staff.

Paul Fitzpatrick, 18 February 2018

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