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Mates in Mind launches Northern Ireland education initiative

Northern Ireland construction workers’ mental wellbeing targeted for improvement as Mates in Mind launches education initiative

The charity Mates in Mind has today announced it will be delivering a series of educational sessions in a bid to start raising awareness, address the stigma of poor mental health and improve positive mental wellbeing amongst Northern Ireland’s construction workforce.

The issue of mental ill-health in the UK construction sector is a significant concern, with over a third of workers having experienced some condition in the past year. Almost a quarter of workers consider leaving the industry due to mental health-related problems, which is exacerbated by a prevailing belief that employers are neither able to recognise or address these problems. Furthermore, the UK construction industry suffers from rates of suicide that are higher than any other industry sector, a fact compounded further by Northern Ireland’s already high rates of suicide compared to other parts of the UK & Republic of Ireland, which leaves its workers at potentially even greater risk.

Working to address this, the Health in Construction Leadership Group and IOSH (NI) have been instrumental in bringing Mates in Mind to Northern Ireland – in collaboration with the Workplace Health Leadership Group (NI) and working with delivery partner, Inspire Knowledge and Leadership.

CITB(NI) are providing initial funding for this kick start initiative, and offering: 20 half-day training sessions, a two-day mental health first aid training course that will lay the foundations for improving mental health and two sessions specifically tailored for board members. On completion of the sessions, delegates will also have access to 24/7 telephone counselling support.

Announcing the launch, Joscelyne Shaw, Executive Director of Mates in Mind, said: “Today marks an important step for the Northern Ireland construction sector as it looks to tackle the stigma associated with poor mental health. This is achieved by creating a culture built on an understanding of what good mental health looks like.

“As a result of the generous funding provided by CITB(NI) and the efforts of our collaborators, we can now start the process of opening up the subject of mental health with conversations that can make a crucial difference to so many people’s lives”. 

www.matesinmind.org

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