Under pressure: It’s good to talk

Getting advice or help from an expert is always the best route but what if you don't have access to them?

Most people don’t get involved in conversations about mental health issues because they think they can’t help or don’t want to seem like they’re prying.

But there’s a lot you can do as a friend, colleague or employer that can make a real difference. The most simple thing, according to charities, is to listen to someone.

Small gestures can make a big difference: praising what they’ve done or helping with an everyday task can boost confidence and encourage someone to open up.

Another top tip is that sometimes a person doesn’t feel like meeting or phoning so being open to text messages, emails or Facebook messages can help. If someone doesn’t want to talk to a person they know, helplines like the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day.

According to Lighthouse Club, one of the construction industry’s mental health charities and a partner of Under Pressure, last year 2,615 cases were presented to their helpline, an increase of 57% on the previous year.

The charity also says employers can help to:

• Build employees’ confidence to have open conversations around mental health

• Encourage people to access support when problems first start

• Empower anyone with a long-term mental health issue or disability to thrive in work

• Promote a mentally healthy environment

• Embed a long-term positive culture across the whole organisation

The charity’s chief executive officer Bill Hill says: “Many of the workforce remain anxious about the safety of their work environment. Now, more than ever, it is vitally important to ensure that every company and building site has some level of mental wellbeing support.”

Are you listening?

Listening can help solve mental health issues and there are some simple steps that could make a difference.

The mental health charity Time To Change has this advice to help conversations:

• Let the person speak – people are more likely to be able to listen to you if you’re listening to them.

• You can show people you’ve heard them by paraphrasing what they’ve said, e.g. “It sounds like you’re really passionate about your community.”

• Asking open questions can help get people talking e.g. “Could you say a bit more about that?”

Support network

The NHS has also created a series of podcasts to help which you can find here.

Resources to help

Find more on dealing with mental health issues at www.lighthouseclub.org

Construction Industry Helpline 24/7 telephone number: 0345 605 1956

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