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3rd June 2020: 2pm
Mental health and wellbeing are more prevalent than ever for all of us during these challenging and changing times. With the constantly increasing pressures of work and family life and the particular demands of the property and construction industry, it is important to take time to learn about, become more aware and be able to spot some signs relating to our mental health and wellbeing. Join us for this discussion about the mental health and wellbeing challenges faced by the property and construction industry, as well as some solutions currently being tested by leading names. We'll be joined by guests from Danaher & Walsh and Willmott Dixon, with some practical techniques from a mindfulness practitioner from Solutions 2 Living.
Dozens of property and construction professionals took part in ProCon Leicestershire’s first lockdown webinar, which explored mental health awareness and support in the industry.
The online event, hosted in conjunction with its sister organisation ProCon Nottinghamshire, attracted attendees from across the spectrum of disciplines in property and construction.
Three speakers gave presentations on aspects of mental health in the sector, including a mindfulness exercise, before a lively Q&A which generated more than a dozen questions and answers.
The hour-long Zoom webinar was introduced by ProCon Leicestershire chair Umesh Desai from De Montfort University and moderated by Danielle Hall of Cartwright Communications.
Umesh said: “During this period of remote working it is crucial that we take care of our own mental health and also those we work with.”
Sue Southam, SHEQ manager at the contractor Danaher & Walsh, outlined the statistics on the prevalence of mental health problems in construction. She identified the signs to be aware of, including decreased productivity, lack of cooperation, tiredness and presenteeism.
Sue provided ways to help yourself, such as a healthier diet, spending time outdoors and meditation. And she described how to keep your eye on colleagues to spot emerging problems.
Zoe Anastasi, mental health champion at Willmott Dixon, described how since 2015 the business has ramped up how it supports wellbeing amongst its staff and its supply chain, and how it communicates the help available.
Zoe also shared the usefulness of the Mental Health First Aider role. From initially finding it difficult to getting volunteers to train for the role, to now having a waiting list, the role is both popular and effective, said Zoe.
Chris Heath, mindfulness specialist at Solutions 2 Living, explored how developing techniques to focus and concentrate can reduce stress and be deployed in the workplace. He led the webinar’s attendees in a five minute breathing exercise.
Questions from attendees included: why mental health problems are more prevalent in the construction industry; how to become a Mental Health First Aider; are there ‘quick win’ mindfulness exercises; how employees react to initiatives; and how to change a company’s culture.
A poll during the webinar revealed only one fifth of attendees believe the construction industry takes mental health seriously. Forty per cent said it does not take it seriously enough and another 40 per cent said it is on the horizon.
Umesh said: “There is still more to do. But more and more organisations are taking this issue on.”
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