Mates in mind talk mental health

Time To Start Talking – Mates in Mind Calls On Companies To Start The Conversation About Mental Health 

September 10th marks World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) 2022, an annual awareness day created to establish worldwide commitment and action on suicide prevention. With over 6,221 suicides registered in the UK in 2020 alone and, on average, two construction workers taking their own lives every working day, opening up this conversation has never been more important. 

Despite being a relatively recent organisation, Mates in Mind has been working tirelessly to break the silence and stigma surrounding mental ill-health in the UK, with a particular focus on the construction industry and helping its workforce.  

Though in the first two years of operations MinM focused exclusively on transforming the mental health culture in construction workplaces, the team has now expanded their support across a multitude of industries. 

However, Mates in Mind believes that destigmatising the topic of mental health is an ongoing and crucial step towards providing a safe and healthy workplace environment, which can play a vital role in suicide prevention – and with the construction industry’s shocking statistics pushing them to do more, the team remains committed to supporting the industry and achieving their goal of reaching 75% of the companies across the sector by 2025. 
 
Michelle Wiles, Patron of Mates in Mind, says:  

“This Suicide Prevention Day, it’s important to reiterate that early intervention is key in reducing the suicide rate within construction. It’s vital that individuals who are struggling with their mental health feel they are able to talk about how they are feeling and seek support before reaching that crisis point.”  
 
Michelle’s support for and involvement with the organisation date back to 2019, the year her husband, Chris, suffered a mental health crisis brought on by severe stress, which developed at rapid speed and led to him taking his own life.  

As she explains: 

“Chris never experienced any mental health illness previously so I can’t emphasise enough that, if it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.”  
 
In Michelle’s perspective, education on how to spot the signs that someone could be suffering from poor mental health and having the confidence to “start the conversation” is vital to breaking down the barriers that prevent individuals from reaching out to the available support. 
 
Research suggests that open and honest communication about mental ill-health supports steps toward suicide prevention, as these important conversations have the power to increase awareness and understanding, remind people they are not alone and help break the stigma which can be a barrier for those seeking help.  

In light of this, Mates in Mind is encouraging workplaces across the UK to use this opportunity to begin those crucial discussions around mental health in an industry that is desperately in need of change. 
 
Sarah Meek, Managing Director of Mates in Mind, says:  

“We cannot underestimate this important first step – helping to provide clear language, create general awareness and supporting people to recognise that everyone has mental health which can vary depending on circumstances and life stresses. We cannot underestimate the impact that work-related stress can have too and how a discussion with the line manager can often help and is not to be seen as a weakness or failure to cope.”  
 
To support these conversations, Mates in Mind are launching their own Suicide Prevention Day Hub for Employers, with resources and information to support these discussions for organisations and individuals alike.  

On September 10th, remember to look out for your mates – you never know, simply starting a conversation could end up saving a life. 

Have you been affected by mental ill-health brought on by work-related problems? Get in touch in the comments below and let us know what your experience has been like and how you found support.

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