Today, the Mineral Products Association (MPA) committed itself to raising the awareness of, and addressing the stigma of poor mental health and improving positive mental wellbeing in the UK mineral products supply chain that underpins construction.
At their annual Health and Safety conference in London, MPA announced its decision to join the growing list of leading companies and organisations who have already become a Mates in Mind business champion. In doing so, they now have full access to a pioneering framework of resources, techniques and tools that will help their membership to create more mentally healthy workplaces.
Addressing conference delegates, Adrian Shah-Cundy, Corporate Responsibility Director at VolkerWessels UK, and a champion of Mates in Mind, told delegates: "Having such an influential organisation sign-up to Mates in Mind reinforces further the degree to which the UK construction industry is aware of the need to start making significant headway in tackling this important issue. The evidence for doing something is stark. Too many workers in the UK construction sector are suffering in silence as they struggle with stress, anxiety and depression. The approach that Mates in Mind takes starts the process of lowering the barriers that prevent people from seeking help – most of all the stigma associated with talking about mental health. The MPA's extensive links, especially amongst SMEs, means that Mates in Mind can reach even more workers who are in need."
The Mates in Mind model supports better workplace mental health by bringing together four key elements:
- Guidance and support: offering guidance on specific employee issues to creating stress management policies through to connecting the workforce to appropriate support at the right time – Mates in Mind supports companies create and implement a mental health at work plan.
- Awareness and education: helping to develop mental health awareness throughout the industry – from encouraging open conversation throughout the workforce to helping leaders and managers understand their roles in creating mentally healthy work environments.
- Communication: helping to ensure the organisation's commitment to positive mental health & wellbeing remains visible and relevant. From targeted communication materials to supporting organisations in monitoring employee mental health & wellbeing.
- Research and development: developing industry leading research to understand the nature and impact of mental health, and to ensure development of effective, robust and sustainable solutions.
This tiered approach is tailored to organisations' needs. Irrespective of their scale, speciality, or position within the supply chain – they can benefit.
Announcing MPA's decision to become a Mates in Mind business champion, Kevin Stevens, Director for Safety and Health, said:
"The stigma associated with mental health is a serious issue that will require a concerted and collaborative effort, making open discussion socially acceptable. The Mineral Products Association are delighted to be working with Mates in Mind Partners and Champions to help make a positive difference to people's lives and businesses of all sizes across the supply chain."
Welcoming MPA as a Mates in Mind Business Champion, Joscelyne Shaw, Executive Director of Mates in Mind said:
"Since the roll out of Mates in Mind the UK construction industry's ambition to make progress on this important issue has been made very clear to me so it is pleasing to see this determination stated further with MPA commitment to becoming a business champion. The interaction between work and mental health is complex and sensitive, and is a challenge to employers. What the evidence shows is that stigma and associated discrimination remain significant barriers to addressing the issue. We are helping construction companies to take steps to address both the human cost to construction workers and the financial cost to their businesses. We're very fortunate that the construction industry has taken a stand to ensure mental health is included within the overall health agenda."
Notes to Editors:
- Mates in Mind is a registered charity that aims to raise awareness, address the stigma of poor mental health and improve positive mental wellbeing in the UK construction industry.
- Mates in Mind launched in January 2017 and was founded by Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG) and British Safety Council. It is supported by leading mental health charities and bodies including Mind, Samaritans and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England. There are also numerous leading construction industry business champions supporting the charity. These include for example: Balfour Beatty; Careys; Eight2O; Galliford Try; Mineral Products Association; Tarmac; Tideway; Sellafield; Willmott Dixon; RSE Building Services; and Volker Wessels UK.
- The Mineral Products Association is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries.