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COVID-19: Time to invest in mental health of workers

James Rudoni

Mates in Mind calls on employers to act now to support long-term mental well-being during pandemic

FOLLOWING the release of data exploring the significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the mental health of the public and calls from experts and charities to research the long-term impact of the crisis, the construction industry mental health charity Mates in Mind is calling on employers to act now to support employees’ long-term mental well-being. 

The charity’s managing director, James Rudoni (pictured), said: ‘Mates in Mind supports recent calls for research to be undertaken around the particular and undoubtedly resonating impacts of this pandemic. However, we emphasize the sentiment expressed by Mind chief executive officer Paul Farmer in recent days, who noted that people are already struggling to access the support they need in these uncertain times.


‘In this crucial period, when our mental health as a nation is under strain and the mental well-being of our colleagues and employees may have slipped beneath other business priorities, we urge industry leaders to recognize that never has there been a more essential period for us all to invest in the mental health of our people.

‘Supporting our workforces now, letting them know that there is someone there to support them, and how, when and where they can get help is vital if we want our people to be mentally fit for work during and post this pandemic.

‘Mates in Mind is committed to supporting workforces in accessing the support they need. We know that in creating a long-lasting culture of openness and prevention, enabling individuals to recognize the signs of mental ill-health early, as well as knowing where they can go to for help, will help to tackle issues of isolation, anxiety and uncertainty around the topic. Working alongside our partners from across UK industries, we remain committed to supporting the mental health of the nation’s workforces through these uncertain times.’

Mates in Mind has evolved its current programme, tools and resources to specifically provide the clarity and confidence around managing mental health during COVID-19. As part of this work, the charity partnered with Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) to deliver a series of webinars that are accessible to all, including those who are currently furloughed.

Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of the CECA, said: ‘The Covid-19 pandemic has changed all our lives and it is more important than ever that people get the mental health support they need. This is crucial not only for those who are continuing to work on schemes supporting our NHS, enabling key workers to travel, or delivering power, water, and the Internet to our homes, but also for those who have been furloughed under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

‘Whether people are working from home, self-isolating, or continuing to work to allow the economy and the NHS to function, they must be supported in their mental health needs throughout this crisis.’

James Rudoni added: ‘As the scale and impact of this pandemic unfurls, we emphasize the need to remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Therefore, investing in the resilience of our workers so we can continue to tackle the ongoing challenges is essential to ensuring the overall health of both workforces and organizations themselves, not only during the outbreak but also in the re-adjustment to the ‘new normal’ which will follow.’


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