Mental Health in the Construction Industry

This blog has been written by our joint managing director, Craig Sanders, and explores the topic of mental health in the construction industry, suicide statistics, and discusses the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity’s new ‘Help Inside The Hard Hat’ initiative…

In June, you may recall that The Daily Mail ran a particular story about a ‘study’ on the state of mental health within the construction industry. The leading headline for that piece was ‘UK builders go WOKE’.  

Yeah. Seriously, it was. 

There’s a reason it has been widely criticised. It’s an insulting and gross headline, one that is woven into a story about an outdated stereotype that totally diminishes a serious issue within one of the country’s most important and demanding sectors. 

So, what’s the reality?  

Well, according to the Lighthouse Club, a UK-based charity that provides financial and emotional support to construction workers dealing with mental and other health issues, it’s estimated that two construction workers take their own lives every working day in the UK.  Last year, it was also reported by Essential Site Skills that the construction industry has the highest level of death rate, making up for nearly 27% of the total workplace deaths, and is three times higher than the national average for male workers. 

We could go on and on and on with the data that is widely available. But just those two alone are both startling and devastating enough. 

This is what matters. These are facts that are not talked about or reported nearly enough, a fact that has been buried behind projects and deadlines and supply chain issues for far too long. 


This isn’t about being Woke. It’s about creating awareness around a serious issue 

Take a look at the below. 

“Modern tradesmen are sensitive souls more likely to enjoy yoga, muesli, listening to Radio 4 and sharing their feelings, a survey has found.”

This is the first paragraph of the Daily Mail’s piece. I did say it was gross. 

Now, let’s look at the reality of the industry. The one that isn’t talked about and reported nearly enough. 

A lot of our customers at Protrade are one-man bands, tradespeople that often work long hours away from their home and family, are running a business single-handedly, chasing payments, managing contracts, and have tight deadlines. Those people don’t tend to have anyone they can turn to, and it can be incredibly isolating and a lonely job. 

And since speaking to people within the industry about this, what is clear to me is that everyone seems to know someone that has taken their own life. 

This is something that resonates with me, too. From my own experience, many years ago, I worked on the trade counter and knew a guy that was a regular – lovely guy, with a great family – and I was shocked to find out that he had taken his own life two years ago.  No one knew what he was going through or that he was struggling. That stays with you and more needs to be done raise awareness of these issues within the industry.

The invaluable work of charities like the Lighthouse Club needs to be talked about more 

I have worked within construction my entire life and it has served me well over the 30 years plus that I’ve been in it.  And I’ll be frank, it wasn’t until earlier this year that I was aware of the Lighthouse Club and the amazing work they do. This leads me to think that there are so, so, many more within our industry that are in the same boat. 

The Lighthouse Club don’t just work with mental health. They work across a number of wellness areas within the construction sector, including financial which has become prevalent in recent years with everything that is happening. They have recently launched their ‘Help Inside the Hard Hat’ campaign to raise awareness of poor mental health within our industry. Its main aim is to provide a huge range of proactive support and resources, including its 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline, a free app and mental health training. 

It’s a campaign that we are fully embracing here at Protrade and one that I would urge every other business to raise awareness of and get behind. 

The reality is that by doing so, you are reaching someone that might just need it.


Our stance on mental health at Protrade 

Since raising awareness and funds for the Lighthouse Club by completing the Pennine Cycleway challenge in May, the discussion around mental health is something we have only embraced more. That extends beyond myself and the business’ joint managing director, Des Duddy. 

We believe that everyone is responsible for looking out for each other’s mental health and wellbeing, not just designated mental health first aiders.

To us, it’s everybody’s job. We all have a responsibility to look after one another and have each other’s backs.  

If you have an eight-hour shift, Monday to Friday, and you do that for your whole working life, it equates to a third of an individual’s life.  

We care about the people that we’re spending our time with. We’re committed to having proper conversations with our staff and our customers within the industry. Only by doing that can our industry break down the barriers that have been around it for far too long.  

It’s not about being Woke. It’s about being human.

Author: Craig Sanders Joint Managing Director Protrade


Spread the cost with finance from Klarna on orders over £99 inc.vat.

Discover More

Power Tool Support Package

Additional warranty cover as standard on selected power tools.

Discover More

Tool Repair Service

We’ll collect, repair and return it to you as good as new.
Discover More

Open a Trade Account

Get access to exclusive trade prices and much more by applying today.
Discover More

Syncing customer details