A CWMBRAN-BASED firm is looking to tackle the stigma of talking about mental health in the construction industry.

Cargo Interiors is aiming to encourage workers to be open with any issues they have with their mental health, and now has a specialist mental health first aider on site at all times.

“We take our responsibility as employers very seriously,” said Carl Gough, managing director of Cargo Interiors.

“We’re here to provide the right support and pathways for our employees, and to create opportunities for meaningful conversations where we can begin to tackle the issue of mental health in the construction industry head-on.

“Mental health in the construction industry is a topic that’s very rarely discussed.

“Physical health and safety are given the most attention in the construction industry, but the fact that suicide kills more people than falls from height means that we have a duty of care to break the silence around mental health in our industry.

“Working in the construction industry is challenging; with typically demanding hours, a lot of time working away from home and general uncertainty around Covid-19 to boot.

“To make things worse, the bulk of the construction industry workforce is male which means special considerations need to be made to meet the challenging demands of men’s mental health.

“Classically the construction industry has been home to toxic masculinity and the ‘tough guy’ image, leading to many people suffering in silence. We won’t stand for that.”

“As mental health first aider, it’s my job to promote positive mental health on all of our sites and provide a safe and comfortable environment for people to speak openly should they need to,” said Kyle Hall, Cargo’s first mental health first aider.

“There are plenty of different types of support we offer and advice we can give to help our colleagues to access the support that they may need to feel better.”

Cargo employees are also required to have a detailed site induction about keeping safe on-site; which includes information about the mental health support available to them.

Site offices are also designed with space for colleagues to socialise, with the aim of combatting loneliness and isolation at work, and there are further safe spaces for talking about issues privately.

And hydration stations will be in place across all sites to encourage workers to keep hydrated – which can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.