National framework organisation Pagabo is launching a new charity to tackle the taboo of mental health in the construction industry.
The fundraising Pagabo Foundation aims to raise the profile of mental health within the construction industry and will fund resources making support and advice as readily available as possible to those working in the industry.
Recent statistics show suicide as the biggest killer of construction workers under the age of 45, with male site workers three times more likely to take their own life than the average male in the UK.
Jason Stapley, Managing Director at Pagabo and lead for the foundation, said: “Mental health awareness has made great strides in recent years, but there is a still a way to go in improving the awareness and acceptance within the construction industry particularly with the challenging and at times stressful lifestyle that comes with it.
“In a workforce that is still primarily male, there are associated mental health risks – which the ‘tough guy’ image does not help with. For many working in construction, asking for help and opening up about emotions is not something that comes naturally. We want to not only change this but provide companies of all sizes with the resources they need to help their workforce.”
The foundation aims to unite key organisations, starting with its own partners, to set out initiatives to break down barriers in the industry from the top down. The first external foundation trustee has been announced as Pat Boyle, Managing Director at Morgan Sindall Construction, who joins Jason Stapley, Simon Toplass and Gerard Toplass from Pagabo on the Board of Trustees.
Boyle said: “I’m thrilled to be a trustee for the new Pagabo Foundation. There are some rather worrying statistics surrounding mental health in the construction industry, and I’m looking forward to working with the team to make a real difference to those working in the industry who may currently be suffering in silence.”
Stapley added: “Depression and anxiety have overtaken musculoskeletal disorders in the industry and it’s going to take a real joint effort to foster industry-wide, so it’s really important to us to have trustees from a variety of companies throughout the industry and we’re thrilled to have Pat on our board of trustees.
“We put so much focus on physical health in the construction industry, ensuring ample health and safety signage and personal protection equipment, and we need to encourage the same for mental health.
“Whether a person’s mental health issues are caused directly by their job or not, we believe that everyone working in the construction industry should and can get the help they need to work towards a healthier life.”