Construction Industry shines light on mental health issues that plague the sector

23 Oct 2018

The Construction Industry Federation has released a poignant new video featuring architect and RTE star Dermot Bannon, encouraging healthier conversations around mental health in Ireland’s construction sector.

The video explores what looks from the outset like a stereotypical, jovial construction site canteen conversation amongst colleagues, but quickly challenges viewers with some hard-hitting and thought-provoking truths, accompanied by the tagline: “Some of us are very good at hiding our true feelings and keeping things light-hearted, but what would our conversations sound like if we all said how we really felt?”

The video was released today as part of the Construction Industry Federation’s campaign to support Construction Safety Week, run by the Construction Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (CSPAC) running from Monday 22nd-Friday 26th October 2018 and can be viewed by clicking here.

Dermot Bannon, who is lending his support to Construction Safety Week this year to drive home the 2018 theme- ‘Better Safety for Smaller Contractors,’ said:

“With what happened in the industry and economy over the past 10 years, mental wellbeing is such an important issue. In an office or similar group working environment, people get to know each other and can be well-placed to spot if a colleague is behaving differently or going through a hard time. However, on a construction site, particularly where subcontractors are coming and going, there is less engagement and fewer opportunities to spot problems. It is important to remember that everyone is a colleague and that Health and Safety applies to mental well-being also. If you have a problem, it is good to talk and seek help if needed and to know there are supports and that there won’t be a stigma attached. There is still a lot of work to be done in this area, but I am delighted to see the industry addressing this silent demon head-on.”

Dermot Carey, Director Safety and Training, Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said:

“Research shows that 10 people a week in Ireland take their own lives – 8 out of these ten are men. The construction sector is 96% male. We know from feedback we have received that workers in the construction sector are part of these statistics. As an industry we have focussed a lot of our effort in the past at managing safety issues – recently we have realised that we need to give time to managing people’s wellbeing. Today is an opportunity to focus on these matters and begin to change the mindset that men don’t deal with matters of the mind. Our experience for the last two years of Construction Safety Week is that this day gets most engagement from those working in the industry –the slogan for the day is “ Mind Your Head” –  we look forward to an enlightening day. Visit and view our webinar delivered by Pauline Bergin of Pieta House.”

According to a recent mental health survey carried out by one Irish construction company ‘stress’ was the biggest challenge respondents faced in dealing with their mental health, with 42% of those surveyed stating that anxiety affected their daily lives.

Brian Higgins, CEO of Pieta House, said:

“I want to congratulate the Construction Industry Federation on Construction Safety Week and to thank them for including Positive Mental Health Day as part of that.

Employer supported days like this will have a significant impact on challenging the stigmas that exist around mental health. Stigmas which all too often stop people from asking for help.  This initiative can help reduce the fear and isolation that trap so many people in poor mental health and encourage and support men and women across the construction industry to think about their own mental health and to care more for themselves and each other.”

Brian Higgins added:

“Our vision at Pieta House is a world where suicide, self-harm, and stigma have been replaced by hope, self-care, and acceptance. Thank you to CIF for the great work and strides it has been making for the betterment of Health and Safety throughout the construction industry and for extending it to mental health and wellbeing.

10 people die by suicide each week in Ireland, 8 of these people will be men. We would like to particularly encourage men within the construction industry to engage with this initiative, engage with their feelings and to feel comfortable in speaking to someone, whether it be their colleagues, friends or family, should they find themselves in difficulty.

If you feel you need our professional services at Pieta House, please talk to us.  Thanks to the generosity of CIF and all of our supporters across the country, all of our services are free of charge. Please visit for all centre contact details. Pieta House provide 24/7 support – if you are suicidal or self-harming you can contact Pieta House 24/7 via our freephone helpline on 1800 247 247, you can also text HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply.)”

Construction Safety Week is an initiative of the Construction Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (CSPAC). This is a grouping of all the main stakeholders in the construction sector in Ireland – Employers, Unions, State Bodies (in conjunction with the Health & Safety Authority) and Professional Bodies.

Our collective objective is to continue to highlight the issues of health and safety in the Irish construction industry and to drive continual improvement.

Good health and safety depend on co-operation between all parties on a project – from client to designers and contractors – everyone’s safety depends on their co-workers or the person working beside you or above you.

The mission for this week is to refocus on health and safety and it’s a call to action for companies of all sizes to run a safety event this week.

Construction Safety Week 2018 is sponsored by the Construction Workers Sick Pay Trust (CWPS), DRS Bond Management, Jacobs Engineering, Walls Construction, Glenveagh Properties, Collen Construction, Irish Water, Gas Networks Ireland and ESB Networks.

For more information see:, check out activity on @CIF_ireland or by using #CIFSafety18


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