staggering suicide statistics

Two construction workers take their own lives every working day in the UK 

Any suicide is always one too many but the UK’s construction industry’s suicide rate of two workers deaths per day is all the more shocking when you consider that it hasn’t stopped rising. 

When he found out about his industry’s suicide rates, Craig Sanders, Protrade’s Joint Managing Director, decided he needed to give something back to the industry he’s been working in for the past thirty years. So, in an effort to raise awareness for the struggles workers face on a daily basis, Craig has decided to embark on an unprecedented adventure and set up a Just Giving event through which people can contribute.  

Alongside two of his school friends, Craig will be raising money for Lighthouse Club by completing the 355 miles of Pennine Cycleway between the 2nd and 6th of May. Lighthouse Club is the only charity to currently provide emotional, physical and financial well-being support for construction workers and their families.   

When questioned about his motivations, Craig said: 

“I was shocked to hear that two construction workers take their own lives every working day in the UK. I believe the construction industry has the second-highest statistic when it comes to suicides, which is both startling and devastating.” 

Craig Sanders Protrade Managing Director

He went on to detail just a few of the reasons why he believes it is such a prevalent practice within the industry, namely long working hours, tight deadlines, lack of a routine, working in isolation and separation from families, and how these all contribute to poor mental health standards among tradespeople. 

On the topic of how he and his friends have approached this endeavour, he had to say: 

“We’re not exactly ‘in shape’, so this will be challenging to say the least. If my gruelling adventure means that just one more person is saved by getting the support they need, it’ll be the most rewarding thing I have ever done.” 

Although The Lighthouse Club’s work mainly focuses on mental health, they also work across a number of different wellness areas within the construction industry, including financial support, a branch that has become increasingly crucial in recent years.    

Craig's cycle for suicide in the construction industry

To add to that, though strides have been made in the last few years, it’s well known that the construction industry is still, notoriously, a macho environment where people tend not to feel comfortable discussing how they feel and what problems they might be facing.    

“Since speaking to people within the industry about this, what’s clear to me is that everyone seems to know someone that has taken their own life. This is something that resonates with me, too.” 

When asked what message he would give to anyone that finds themselves in that situation, Craig raised a very important point:    

“It’s easy to say you should speak to someone. That’s easier said than done and the reality is, though, people often don’t.” 

However, talking doesn’t necessarily need to mean turning to your nearest co-worker and venting until it’s all come pouring out. Lots of platforms and charities now have support lines you can get in touch through, and often speaking to a perfect stranger can turn out to be incredibly easier than someone you’ve known for years. The problem here, though, is that many of us haven’t heard of these services and wouldn’t know where to even start. As Craig himself says: 

“I wasn’t even aware of the Lighthouse Club and I would suspect that there will be many others within the industry that are not aware of the charity and the incredible work they do. Hopefully, by doing this cycle ride, I will be able to raise their profile as well as money for them and what they do for the industry. They’ve got a 24 hour, seven days a week, phone line where workers can reach out and talk to them, offload, and get some support.”   

Protrade’s Joint MD, Des Duddy, added, “I’d also say that if it was that easy to speak to someone, so many more people wouldn’t find themselves so far down the line. It’s almost like saying ‘snap out of it – if it was that easy, nobody would be depressed or struggle with their mental health. There’s an onus on organisations to create a culture whereby colleagues look out for one another.” 

To check up on Craig’s progress or donate to his cause and help support the valuable work of the Lighthouse Club, you can visit his Just Giving event

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