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Edition #03 | Spring 2021 Back to articles

How to Improve Site Mental Health with Bill Hill CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity

Edition #03 | Spring 2021

Earlier this year vertemax were delighted to be joined virtually by the Lighthouse Club CEO Bill Hill. Discussions centred around the charities services to the construction industry, tips for improving a company’s well-being environment, Bill’s vision for the future and much more. The following article will detail some of the important topics, but readers are encouraged to watch the interview in full above.

Established in 1956 The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity has been seen as a beacon of hope for many with the charity logo being based upon the Whitley Bay lighthouse. With 22 regional volunteer hubs as of March 2021 the charity mission has always been to ensure that no construction worker or their family is alone in a crisis.

Services offered by the charity centre around the 3 pillars of support (physical, mental and financial wellbeing) with the 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline being available to all industry workers within the UK and Ireland. The charity also host an array of masterclass training sessions which are solely online at present due to lockdown restrictions. Over 6000 individuals have completed these sessions with this figure reinforcing the quality of the content provided. These freely available seminars focus upon the following areas:

  • Building resilience
  • Stress management
  • Work life balance
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • How to interview/CV skills
  • And Budgeting

They also offer the full MHFA England approved Mental Health First Aider courses free of charge to companies that commit to an annual donation and become Company Supporters.

Additionally, the Construction Industry Helpline app is available for free on both Google and Apple App Stores and can be downloaded by all in the industry to ensure that workers are aware of the support services and resources available to them should they be needed.

Every working day two construction workers in the UK take their own life, that’s over five hundred per year and the industry must take action. Stressors for those in the industry are often associated to working away from home, long hours, physical work or being anxious about where your next piece of work is coming from. Any of these listed stressors amongst others can be enough to cause people to drop into a depressive state and this is where the Lighthouse Club can intervene at the early stages so that situations do not escalate to crisis point.

Improving Company Mental Health Support

For many companies the prospect of introducing additional mental health provision is perceived as expensive. However, during our interview Bill outlined a simple, inexpensive way to instantly improve the company outlook. The Building Mental Health Programme outlines five steps that can be deployed quickly and will provide return upon staff loyalty, retention, productivity and safety.

  1. Sign the Building Mental Health charter
  2. Provide all employees with access to an Employee Assistance Programme (the free
    24/7 helpline)
  3. Deliver a free to download Toolbox Talk to create a culture where people feel
    empowered enough to discuss problems openly
  4. Carry out a Mental Health Awareness half day course
  5. Carry out a 2-day Mental Health Awareness course for a selected company/site
    specialist

If you have read the five steps above and it isn’t possible to implement these steps currently it’s important to consider what you can do individually. During the interview Bill outlined the ‘Three Golden Nuggets’ that everyone can easily adopt into their everyday life, these are:

  1. Ask how somebody is… twice
  2. Listen non judgementally
  3. BE KIND!

To close the interview, we asked what Bill hopes to achieve during his time with the Lighthouse Club. Primarily, he wants every worker in the construction industry to know that the Lighthouse Club is there to support them and their family.

There are multiple fun and easy ways get involved with the Lighthouse Club including fundraising events such as golf days, boxing nights and annual dinners. Alternatively, become a company supporter by committing to an annual pledge. For more information, please visit The Lighthouse Club website.

Bill Hill

Bill has a wealth of experience in both charity and commercial worlds. Having previously held managerial positions at both Hewlett Packard and SAGE Bill turned his head to charity work in 2009 when he became CEO of Wooden Spoon – the children’s charity of rugby. After leaving Wooden Spoon Bill was appointed as the first ever CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, a position he has held since July 2013.

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