Photos | Tideway erects giant mental health sculpture

10 October 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

A wooden sculpture designed to raise awareness of mental health issues in construction has been re-erected on a site in Kent.

‘Head Above Water’ by Steuart Padwick, which previously stood at Gabriel’s Wharf in the heart of London, has been relocated to a Northfleet site that provides materials and logistical support for London’s new super sewer.

The 9m-tall structure was initially created to support a Time to Change campaign aimed at encouraging more people to talk about and address issues associated with mental health.

Phil Dupree, logistics and transhipment manager for Tideway, the company building the 25km super sewer, said: “I’m delighted that Head Above Water now has pride of place at Northfleet. Mental health is an incredibly important issue and it’s something that needs as much exposure as possible, especially within the construction industry. Male site workers are three times more likely to die by suicide than the average UK male.”

Tideway’s Northfleet site includes an herb garden, a greenhouse made from reused water bottles and a rudimentary pizza oven, as well as vegetable patches and seating areas overlooking the Thames, in a bid to improve. A disused shipping container has also been transformed into a gym.

Dupree added: “At this site we’re putting a lot of effort into raising awareness of mental health issues. We have two mental health first aiders who always have their doors open, but they do more than listen. They provide encouragement, support and advice. We’re definitely going about things the right way here, and I’m proud of what we’re doing.”

Padwick said: “I’m thrilled that the sculpture has been rebuilt at Tideway’s Northfleet site. Before I started on the Head Above Water journey I knew almost nothing about Tideway, and it has been a privilege to get to know members of the Tideway community. The care and respect they have for each other is wonderful, and their approach to mental health is inspiring.”

Tideway, which works with the Mates in Mind charity, has at least one Mental Health First Aider on each of its sites and has organised a week of activities around World Mental Health Day today (10 October), including meditation sessions, health checks with nurses and slots with trained counsellors.

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