The construction industry is teaming up with Ford to combat suicide and increase awareness of mental health issues in the UK. Recent figures indicate that as many as two construction workers are lost to suicide every day. Under the ‘Make It Visible’ campaign, Ford, along with Balfour Beatty and the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, is taking action to provide measures to ensure that individuals can get help when they need it.
That will include a fleet of highly visible vans to provide a way for counsellors to get to construction sites with onsite posters to direct workers to a safe place off-site where they can talk and seek help more easily. Dedicated onsite counsellors will be identifiable by wearing specially designed ‘higher-viz’ safety vests. It’s a serious effort to prevent suicide and promote the front seats of a vehicle as a safe place to talk.
Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Ford to deliver the “Make it Visible” campaign. These highly distinguishable vans will be visiting sites across the country to deliver visible support to the boots on the ground workforce. The vehicles are manned by the Lighthouse Club’s onsite team who are all Mental Health First Aiders with relatable experiences in the construction industry. I am convinced that this initiative will have a positive impact on workforce wellbeing and ultimately save lives.”
Heather Bryant, Health, Safety and Environment Director at Balfour Beatty, said: “For too long, the construction and infrastructure industry has treated mental health as the poor cousin of physical health. We must change this incredibly outdated perception – and at Balfour Beatty, we are continuing to lead the charge.
“The “Make it Visible” campaign helps to build on the work we have done with the charity Mates in Mind, by specifically helping us to reach those, including our valued supply chain partners, who may not be aware of the resources available to them whilst also providing a dedicated, safe space to talk.”
At the launch of the initiative at the 2022 Commercial Vehicle Show, Mandy Dean, Director of Commercial Vehicles at Ford of Britain and Ireland, said: This campaign is hugely important to Ford and highlights the importance of mental well-being alongside physical well-being on the construction site. As the UK’s best-selling commercial vehicle brand. It is likely the majority of construction workers are also Ford customers and operators, so we feel we have a duty to support them, through this partnership with the Lighthouse Club, raising awareness and getting support to those in need of it.”
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