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Pandemic Stress Increases Need For Mental Health Support – Survey

A new survey of over 1200 construction workers shows that the huge stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening the mental health crisis in the industry, says Mates in Construction CEO Victoria McArthur.

Mates in Construction is a workplace based suicide prevention charity operating in the construction industry. They have conducted a survey of over 1200 construction workers to assess the state of mental health in the industry.

Mates in Construction CEO Victoria McArthur says the results show the enormous squeeze on workers in the industry at the moment.

“What these survey results show is the huge impact of the pandemic on an already overstretched workforce. 43% of workers said that their mental health was worse since the COVID-19 pandemic report.

“The combination of huge workloads and uncertainty is taking its toll on our workforce. In the last 4 months, 4% of respondents seriously thought about ending their life, 2% made plans to end their life, and 1% made an attempt to end their life.

“Suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts are reported more frequently by participants aged 18 to 25, with 18% reporting such thoughts. Rates were also higher amongst Māori on 8% and Pacific Peoples on 8%.

"In the workplace, the three most common issues of concern are: high workload at 37%, COVID-19 protocols at 31%, and pressures from delays at 30%. Omicron makes it likely these pressures will only intensify.

“The research also shows there is real room for improvement when it comes to how we are checking in on our workforce and colleagues at work. Just 33% of workers reported their employer checking in on their welfare at work in the last year.

“This research underscores the importance of prioritising our people as we continue to work through the pandemic and look to rebuild our economy and businesses. At MATES, we are expanding around the country to offer mental health support through workplaces, but it is clear we need a joined up approach by industry, government and providers to support our people through the stormy seas ahead,” says Victoria McArthur.

The survey was made possible by funding from CHASNZ SiteSafe and Registered Master Builders.

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