10 October is World Mental Health Day. 

The focus of this day is on awareness – it encourages conversation around mental health, in an attempt to dismantle some of the stigmas that might prevent people suffering with mental health issues from speaking out. It’s also an opportunity for those working in mental health to discuss what they do, and hopefully, through increased awareness, to mobilise even greater support efforts.

Today we want to talk about the work being done by our friends at Band of Builders – an award-winning charity who champion mental health awareness in the trade professions.

Band of Builders are an award-winning charity who champion mental health awareness in the trade professions.

The Mental Health Crisis in Construction

Band of Builders tell us that:

“Three in ten of the texts to a new mental health helpline service set up specifically for the UK construction industry are cries for help from tradespeople who are thinking about ending their own lives.”

Their work points to an invisible mental health crisis in the trade industries, with the suicide rate amongst construction workers now having risen for the fifth consecutive year. Since setting up an SMS helpline for construction workers a year ago (text BOB to 85258), they say that texts about suicide account for over 30% of users – “nearly double the number seeking help for depression (16.2%), stress/anxiety (15.4%), relationship issues (14.2%) and isolation (14%).”

Another charity working in this field, Mates in Mind, give us the following statistics:

  • In the UK, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women are.
  • But men in construction industries are three times more likely to die by suicide than the national average for men.
  • On average two UK construction workers die by suicide every day – totalling more than 700 deaths per year.
  • Over two-thirds of UK construction workers believe that stigma around mental health prevents them from talking about it.

These are deeply alarming numbers.

Mates in Mind explain that construction work is a very high-pressure industry, typically involving long hours and often with extended time away from loved ones. The pandemic has added further challenges, and now the costs of materials and supplies are rising rapidly too.

They also point to the harm of what they identify as a “macho culture” within construction, “which prevents many workers from seeking support and help when they may need it.” Meanwhile, they note, 56% of construction workers belong to organisations that have no policies for mental health in the workplace.

There is clearly a lot of work needed then, in breaking down this stigma that prevents workers from seeking help. And it is towards this issue that Band of Builders are focussing their efforts.

Statistics about mental health in the construction trades, via Band of Builders.

Promoting Mental Health Solutions

Gavin Crane – the CEO of Band of Builders – says:

“It’s no secret that Band of Builders sees mental health as one of the biggest threats to our industry, and we want to do everything we can to highlight the crisis and raise awareness so changes can be made to protect tradespeople and their families.”

This is the motivation behind their campaign, the Big Brew: an annual initiative that encourages tradespeople to get together over a hot drink and open up about their mental health. It’s all about breaking down that wall of silence.

Gavin explains:

“We are committed to raising awareness about mental health in construction and providing resources to support tradespeople in need – and the Big Brew is a way of creating safe spaces for open conversations, reducing stigma and promoting mental wellbeing.”

This year, the third annual Big Brew event will be taking place across 300+ coffee mornings up and down the UK. It has gathered some big name sponsors, and hosts that include brands and suppliers like Jewson and DEWALT. In addition to these annual events though, Band of Builders want to provide year-round support too. They offer an online wellbeing service and an SMS support line.

The results from these campaigns so far have been very positive – though as Gavin Crane points out, they also reveal just how large this problem is.

“The figures from our text service … provide a window into just how big the mental health crisis is in the UK construction industry – which is why we are urging more people to get involved with the Big Brew, as it’s a great way to encourage community engagement and improve awareness of both mental health issues and ways to seek help for members of the UK construction industry.”

For anyone looking to get involved, you can arrange to host your own Big Brew event by visiting the Band of Builders website – or join the conversation online using the hashtag #GiveYourselfABreak. 

For anyone who needs to reach out and be heard, the helpline can be accessed by texting BOB to 85258.

You can also lend your support by partnering with Band of Builders on Alvio – where they are looking to work with suppliers of apparel and accessories, and any other brands who share their mental health mission.

The Big Brew is a mental health initiative by Band of Builders.

The Feel Good Factor

Today we also want to introduce you to FG Factor.

FG Factor is a wellness-focussed brand producing drinks packed full of vitamins and minerals to support a healthy body and mind. 

The founder of FG Factor, Connor Smith, is very candid about his own journey, and his battles with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. On the FG Factor website, he explains:

“I got to the stage where I was waking up not wanting to be in this life anymore, I did not know who I was or wanted to be. I felt an emptiness inside me which was so strange as I had a very good life, a job I enjoyed, house, car, loving family. Yet I still felt like I didn’t belong and what made it worse was that I blamed myself for having these feelings.”

He found his answer in better nutrition, starting off with a range of different supplements – though eventually he would begin combining these into his own vitamin and mineral drinks, which is how the FG Factor brand was born.

Today, FG Factor’s drinks have been praised by NHS workers for their uplifting effects; they’ve been taken up by sporting professionals; and even the armed forces are now promoting the drinks to their servicemen and women.

We are delighted to be able to welcome FG Factor to the Alvio family. To find out more, check out FG Factor on Alvio – where they are looking to partner with sports clubs, wellness stores and other businesses advocating for mental health awareness.

FG Factor, now on Alvio, offer a range of drinks supporting positive mind and body health.

World Mental Health Day – How Can You Help?

Mental Health Day on 10 October is all about raising awareness, showing support, and perhaps most importantly, breaking the stigma associated with reaching out for help.

But really, these are conservations we should be having all year round… 

Whether we’re taking more care about our own mental well-being, or else, providing spaces in which others feel comfortable to come out about whatever issues they may be facing.

World Mental Health Day isn’t just about addressing existing mental health issues – it also emphasises the importance of mental well-being for everyone. In our fast-paced, stress-filled lives, taking care of our mental health is as important as taking care of our physical health. Simple activities like exercise, mindfulness, spending time with loved ones, and engaging in hobbies can significantly impact our mental well-being. This day serves as a reminder to incorporate these practices into our daily lives.

And above all, don’t be afraid to talk about it.

We are proud to be working with forward-thinking partners like Band of Builders, and FG Factor… and we hope that today, on World Mental Health Day, you’ll join us in giving some thought to what we can all do to help break down the stigma around seeking help for mental health challenges in the workplace.

Alvio on World Mental Health Day.

CharityHealth & beauty

Recent Articles

View all
How to Fix the Broken Cycling Industry

How to Fix the Broken Cycling Industry

Earth Day 2024

Earth Day 2024