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Starfish Construction Pledges to Support Better Mental Health Awareness

Construction is an industry that struggles more than most with mental health issues. Veriforce CHAS is joining partner Causeway to ask construction businesses to pledge greater support for mental health.

Mental health is the true health and safety crisis in construction. That's why Causeway is committed to encouraging and promoting improved mental health practices across construction, and Veriforce CHAS is campaigning for members across the industry to do the same.

As a Veriforce CHAS Accredited member, Starfish Construction has been addressing workplace mental well-being for several years, which can help strengthen the positive protective factors of employment, reduce risk factors for mental illness, and improve general health. It can also help encourage employees who have experienced mental health issues to feel supported at work.

"The stereotype is that construction has been a male-dominated workforce that does not ask for help when it comes to mental well-being. Breaking this stereotype is critical to the industry and its employees."
Causeway Insight on Mental Health in Construction

Essential aspects of mental health and well-being include providing information and raising awareness, management skills to deal with issues around mental health and stress effectively, providing a supportive work environment, offering assistance, advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem or returning to work after a period of absence due to mental health problems.

Meet The Mental Health First Aiders

Just as a medical first aid kit contains tools to cope with accidents, emergencies and unforeseen events, a mental health first aid kit offers tools and confidential support for co-workers who need help dealing with mental health concerns.

Our two Mental Health First Aiders, Karen Slaven, based at our Head Office, and Adam Denton-Beaumont, based at our London office, are available to offer support to all Starfish Construction employees.

"Being approachable in my role as a Mental Health First Aider in the workplace is crucial. As a point of contact for a fellow employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress, it is incredibly important that they feel confident in my ability to be there and listen. This interaction could range from having an initial conversation to supporting the person to get appropriate help."
Starfish Construction Mental Health First Aider, Karen Slaven


Mental Health First Aiders are not there to make any diagnosis but to listen and offer support by sign-posting co-workers to where they can obtain further help and support. This may be internally from a manager or director or an external agency. Judgment is never part of a mental health first-aider role but should be approachable and trusted to offer compassion and a pathway to better mental health.

"Research shows that male site workers are three times more likely to die from suicide than the average male in the UK. In fact, suicide kills more construction workers than accidents in the workplace."

"Across Starfish Construction, we want to encourage women to take up key roles in every division. We have always been a progressive-looking company that prides itself on providing opportunities for all; providing a supportive working environment for all is critical to our ELEVATE company culture and operational programme."

Managing Director, John Jessimer

Supporting Women in Construction

As the traditionally male-dominated sector sees a rise in women working across all areas of construction, it is sometimes easy to forget that they also need support with mental health. A 2022 survey found that women are 34% more likely to experience mental health issues than their male counterparts, with renewed calls to explore how the industry can reduce the poor mental health of women in construction and for better inclusivity.

The well-known physical demands of specific construction-based roles may still deter some women (and men) from entering or maintaining careers in construction. However, women seeking a career of longevity in the industry face additional (and less commonly reported) barriers to maintaining their chosen career paths due to inadequate and avoidable working conditions that impact their mental well-being and ability to do their jobs properly, including:

  • Poor site facilities (without female toilets or designated sanitary bins or female hygiene spaces)
  • Ill-fitting workwear and PPE
  • Poorly designed equipment and tools (intended and marketed for use by men)
  • Inadequate workplace policies and
  • Inflexible working practices.

Key Role for Managers at Starfish Construction supported by Mental Health First Aiders

To recognise that workplace stress is a health and safety issue.

We will:

  • Adopt the principles of the HSE Stress Management Standards for employees who may be affected by stress
  • Consult with employees on proposed actions relating to the prevention of workplace stress
  • Provide ongoing training in good management practices
  • Provide confidential counselling, support and good resources
  • Align with other relevant policies such as physical activity, alcohol and absence management
  • Communicate to all employees to make them aware of the mental well-being policy.
Pledge on Mental Health

Starfish Construction fully supports the industry's efforts to better mental health.

As a UK-wide organisation, we commit to creating a better workplace environment in construction that includes mental health support for our workforce. We further pledge to back the campaign for mental health provision to be part of the health and safety and social value procurement conditions for future construction contracts.

We look forward to a day when no construction sector employee feels hopeless and alone and is fully supported throughout their career.

Explore our careers section here to learn more about working at Starfish Construction.