Prince William Discusses Suicide Prevention in the Construction Industry with Mates in Mind and Mace
Today, Wednesday 13 September 2023, Prince William visited a construction site in West London to discuss the prevalence of suicide in the construction industry, and highlight the crucial need to focus on prevention, rather than crisis management, when it comes to mental health support. The Prince’s visit came in the week of World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September) and ahead of World Mental Health Day (10 October).
Prince William has been committed to supporting men’s mental health and suicide prevention for many years. Through his work, His Royal Highness has aimed to highlight and champion the importance of tackling this vital issue, which is the largest cause of death for men under the age of 35. Workers in construction are at some of the highest risk of suicide in the country, with rates in the industry nearly four times higher than the national average.
“We were truly honoured to host a visit from The Prince of Wales today, to discuss the importance of focusing on prevention, rather than crisis management, to reduce the unacceptably high number of suicides in the construction industry. As a charity we aim to ensure that no-one experiences mental ill-health through their work. Therefore, it was a wonderful opportunity during this visit to be able to raise awareness of mental health, to start conversations about the issues and contributory factors faced at all levels within construction, the impact that arises, and continue eradicating the stigma of mental ill-health and the barriers that surround it.” Sarah Meek, Managing Director, Mates in Mind.
During the visit a roundtable, including members representing a wide variety of roles and perspectives from across the construction industry shared their personal experiences, and the impact mental health has on their personal and work lives, their family, friends and colleagues. “We are truly grateful to The Prince for spending the time learning about the issues, the charity and the transformational work underway. I would personally like to thank everyone who made the visit possible, including our friends at Mace, Logan Price (MPB Structures), Jordan Smith (SM5 Developments), Steve Hails and others in making this visit such a success.” Sarah Meek.
The Prince heard from leading mental health charity Mates in Mind about the expertise that they provide to empower employers and key stakeholders across the construction industry, including contractors, supply chains and policy makers, to bring the proactive change that is needed to improve mental wellbeing and the factors that contribute towards this in the sector.
Mates in Mind has worked closely with hundreds of companies over recent years committed in taking this holistic approach around improving mental health to recognise the pressures faced by construction workers and explore how the industry can adapt from within to address these issues head on.
These Supporters include Mace, who are building the project that His Royal Highness visited. This partnership working includes placing a strong focus on promoting the implementation of proactive prevention strategies within the sector to ensure that employers support workers to maintain their mental health to both identify and address issues early, rather than simply relying on more reactive measures once a person reaches breaking point without having addressed this as a wider model of awareness raising and earlier support.
The Prince heard more about the initiatives that Mace are operating in partnership with Mates in Mind across their sites to support the people that work on their construction projects, including improving understanding and awareness of mental health through the provision of workshops and training, and enabling those who are at risk of mental health issues to access the right support at the right time.
Mike Barford, Mace’s Project Director, said: “It was a real honour to meet with The Prince of Wales and share some of the work that we’ve been doing with our site team to support them with their mental health. The culture around mental health and wellbeing in our industry is improving, but far too slowly – and we know if we want to make a real difference we need genuine cultural change. I hope that moments like this one can help to drive that shift in attitudes.”