Suicide kills six times as many construction workers as site falls, yet employers pay less attention to the mental health of their staff than their physical staff, says Grid.
Speaking in response to figures from Samaritans that show that more than three times as many people die from suicide as from car accidents, with 6,122 suicides in 2014, of which 70 per cent were males, compared to 1,755 road traffic fatalities, Grid is calling on employers to make the most of the mental health support facilities available through their group risk policies.
Grid says male-dominated workplaces such as the construction industry are particularly susceptible to mental health issues because many employees feel they can’t talk to their employer about their mental health, and managers are in turn often not comfortable talking about the subject.
Key triggers that affect mental health can include worries about finances, relationships and feeling unable to cope.
Grid says that while suicide prevention may not usually be a primary reason for purchasing group risk products, added-value services offered by insurers can be a genuine support for mental health.
Grid spokesperson Katharine Moxham says: “Often, individuals with suicidal feelings may think others would not understand their problems or feel unable to raise any issues with close family, friends or colleagues. Group risk support services could just provide that absolutely crucial support for someone in desperate need. We’re urging employers to not just implement group risk for their workforce and forget about it, but actively promote the benefits too.
“Some of these services could provide a vital lifeline for individuals who are having suicidal thoughts, have mental health problems or who are suffering with intolerable stress, anxiety or depression. Support is available and it’s important that all employees know it’s there and how to access it.”
• The Samaritans offers free support to anyone who is feeling troubled. See their website.