Suicidal texts make up a third of construction helpline’s message, charity reports

Credit: Adobe Stock / visoot
Credit: Adobe Stock / visoot

Band of Builders’ Big Brew helpline has reported that texts about suicide have accounted for 30.4% of its messages since it was launched a year ago.

The figures come at a time when the suicide rate amongst construction workers has risen for the fifth year in a row, according to Glasgow Caledonian University’s Built Environment Asset Management Centre, and is more than three times that of other careers or professions.

Texts about suicide are nearly double the number seeking help for depression (16.2%). Stress/anxiety (15.4%), relationship issues (14.2%) and isolation (14%) were the other main reasons why construction workers and tradespeople reached out for help.

Data from the text service also shows that 44.2% of builders and contractors using the service did so during the working day – and 20.3% texted between midnight and 2am.

It also shows that Fridays are the busiest day of the week for service usage – with a share of 22.4% – and the overall total is 80.6% for the working week.

Big Brew spokesperson Gavin Crane said that addressing mental health challenges is a moral imperative for the construction industry.

“The construction industry is known for its demanding and often high-pressure work environment,” he said.

“Unfortunately, these conditions can contribute to elevated stress levels, anxiety and other mental health issues among tradespeople. It is crucial that we recognise and address these challenges to create a healthier and more supportive industry culture.

“We are committed to raising awareness about mental health in construction and providing resources to support tradespeople in need – and the Big Brew is a way of creating safe spaces for open conversations, reducing stigma and promoting mental wellbeing.”

Gavin added: “The figures from our text service are just the tip of the iceberg but do provide a window into just how big the mental health crisis is in the UK construction industry – which is why we are urging more people to get involved with the Big Brew, as it’s a great way to encourage community engagement and improve awareness of both mental health issues and ways to seek help for members of the UK construction industry.”

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