New partnership heralds a beacon of hope for the Irish Construction Industry

The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity is partnering with the Construction Industry Federation to promote better mental health and wellbeing within the Irish construction industry.

The charity launched their 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline and app in Ireland in June and they are only charity providing free and confidential financial, physical and mental wellbeing support dedicated to our construction workforce and their families.

The collaboration comes at a time when the industry desperately needs reassurance that there is support both from the Irish industry’s representative body and from the charity that can offer professional and confidential advice on a myriad of specialised financial and wellbeing support.

The CIF’s recent ‘Mental Health Report’ called for a number of actions to help support the mental health of workers, including ensuring resources are available to develop a positive mental health and wellbeing culture on construction sites.

The report also found that only 13 per cent of micro-enterprises have a formal reporting policy. This is despite half of all companies saying mental health issues affected absenteeism in the industry. 94 per cent of companies believe it is critically important the industry improves the management of employees’ mental wellbeing.

The partnership will ensure that organisations are aware of all the free resources available to them including the 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline and app and a huge variety of mental health and wellbeing training.

Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity said, “We are delighted to be appointed as the CIF’s charity partner and ensuring that our construction workforce gets the support they deserve and need. Our mission is to ensure that no construction worker or their family is alone in a crisis and by joining forces we are able to deliver a clear and strong message to the industry that it’s time to talk and seek help.

Bill Hill added “A large proportion of construction workers are sole-traders, micro-enterprises and SMEs. They do not have access to an employee assistance programme (EAP) for support so when things go wrong, the situation can quickly spiral out of control. By making all the services free, confidential and easily accessible, we aim to remove the key barriers to people reaching out for support”

Dermot Carey, Director of Safety and Training at the CIF said, ” Mental health is now considered a safety issue amongst CIF members. It’s on a par with physical safety concerns on site. However, the industry has decades of learning and collaboration in developing a world-class safety culture on Irish sites in terms of physical safety. We are still on our journey to promote mental health and wellbeing in our industry, but we are making great progress. Our partnership with the Lighthouse Charity indicates how important this is to the industry’s leadership. From my interactions in the industry, I understand the Lighthouse Charity helpline has been warmly welcomed as a useful resource by CIF members and I have no doubt many workers will benefit over the coming years for this. When you start a partnership like this you’ll never know the true impact of having the resource, you can only hope that it helps someone at a difficult time and maybe influence them away from drastic harmful actions. That hope, that you show one person facing the dark, a light and a way to shore is enough.”

The charity provides a 24 /7 Construction Industry Helpline which is the first point of contact to access a range of completely free and confidential support services including emergency financial aid, advice on welfare and mental wellbeing, and support on legal, tax and debt management matters. The Construction Industry Helpline app is free to download and available on both Android and Apple devices and is packed full of information, advice and guidance on mental, physical and financial wellbeing matters.

© Civil & Construction 2023