The Health in Construction Leadership Group launches the Mates in Mind programme

6 February 2017


Clive Johnson, Group Head of Health, Safety and Security, discusses how we are supporting and promoting positive mental health

The second annual Health in Construction summit took place in January and was attended by over 300 CEO’s and health & safety professionals. It was an inspiring day and I was very proud to see how engaged everyone was following the successful launch of the first ever Health Summit in 2016.

The event, organised by the Health in Construction Leadership Group, which I chair, aims to raise awareness of occupational health issues in the industry. For too long we have shouted about safety and only whispered about health, so the group aims to address this to give them both an equal profile. This year mental health was high on the agenda, with the launch of the Mates in Mind programme, which supports and promotes positive mental health.

Last year we heard from Simon Clark, who bravely took to the stage to discuss his battle with Mesothelioma, a cancerous tumour caused by years of exposure to asbestos whilst working in the construction industry. This year we were joined by Lee Rowland, a carpenter who for years suffered from mental ill-health and spoke about the widespread impacts on both his personal and professional life. He was both honest and candid, explaining how at his darkest times he had contemplated suicide and felt that there was no one to talk to or help him. It was only once he asked for help from his manager that he realised there was support and understanding. He urged everyone to be aware of the signs of mental health, both within themselves and their employee’s, as it was only once he sought support that he begin to feel better.

Nicola Blackwood, Minister for Public Health and Innovation, is a keen supporter of the programme and said: “Everyone needs support and care from those around them, and it is great to see such attention given to mental health within the construction industry. We spend so much of our time at work so I welcome the work that Mates in Mind is doing to raise awareness and understanding, particularly as suicide is a major cause of death. This Government is determined to address the struggles faced by people with mental ill health, and our recently updated suicide prevention strategy will make sure help is given to those who need it the most.”

With the support of the British Safety Council we are confident that the Mates in Mind programme will continue to develop, grow and change the way of thinking in the construction industry. Find out more here:|



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Group Head of Health, Safety & Security

Clive Johnson
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