FIS launched its #BuildersBrew campaign at UK Construction Week earlier this month to coincide with World Mental Health day. The campaign is designed to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing in the construction industry.

Recent reports from The Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that between 2010 and 2015, more than 1,400 construction workers in the UK took their own lives, making male construction workers the demographic most at risk of suicide in the UK. Further research shows that mental health issues accounted for a third of the construction industry’s absences and that at any one time around 350,000 workers could be suffering from mental health problems.

The #BuildersBrew campaign encourages people to not bottle-up, but to open-up and talk about issues that are causing stress, anxiety or depression with colleagues over a mug of tea or coffee. The campaign also reminds us all to be vigilant of the signs in our colleagues and offer support where we can.

In the run-up to UK Construction Week, FIS ran a social media campaign on Twitter and Instagram platforms asking people to share images of their #BuildersBrew, a photo of themselves with their hot drink, talking about mental health in all the different environments to visually show the support people have given for mental health. FIS then created an image gallery on its stand at UK Construction Week, which received a lot attention and support.

In addition, FIS teamed up with the Digital College and UK Construction Week to offer a free course, An Awareness of Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace, at a breakfast briefing attended by FIS members and partners.

FIS chief executive Iain McIlwee was interviewed about this issue by FIX Radio which was broadcast live at the show. He said: “Raising awareness of mental health and taking positive actions to improve health and wellbeing in construction is imperative.

“We need to move beyond the stereotypes of the building industry and wake up to the reality that people working in construction are three times more likely to take their own life than those in other professions.

“Mental health issues impact us all at some point in our lives. We often like to think we are bullet-proof, but there are times when all of us have our resilience tested and we need help from people around us.

“Through #BuildersBrew, we are encouraging people to take positive, proactive action to support each other and drive the message home that its acceptable to talk about these issues and imperative that we put an arm around the shoulder of colleagues that may be struggling. Far from being a sign of weakness, talking openly is a sign of strength and something we should be applauding and encouraging.”

At UK Construction Week, FIS and Digital College sold #BuildersBrew travel mugs raising money for the Lighthouse Club charity which specialises in providing financial and emotional support to the construction community and their families. These mugs are still available to buy:

David Stephenson, founder and managing director of Digital College, said: “It has been great collaborating with FIS on the #BuildersBrew campaign and delivering the mental health awareness course at UK Construction Week.

“The course is an ideal way to raise awareness at all levels in the construction industry. We want to make people aware that it only takes one hour of your time to complete the course online, making learning very easy, accessible and affordable for your organisation.”

The #BuildersBrew campaign is an ongoing initiative and FIS would like people to submit images of themselves with their mugs of tea and coffee to support and post to @fisorg on its Instagram and Twitter platforms.