The Perception of Mental Health in Small to Medium Enterprises in the Welsh Construction Industry

Mark Van Ek, Karen Le Feuvre

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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    Mental health poses a significant problem in the UK with 1 in 4 people annually experiencing a mental health condition. Men continue to account for three-quarters of suicide deaths, with construction trade and semi-skilled men presenting with higher than-average suicide rates. Employers have a positive role to play in improving the nation’s mental health and to promote positive mental health within the workplace to improve productivity. Small to Medium Enterprises (SME’s) dominate the UK private sector, accounting for 99.9% of the business population; construction is the largest industrial sector in terms of SME numbers. This paper presents an exploratory study investigating the perception of mental health within the small and medium enterprise construction sector in Wales. The paper highlighted that within most SME’s there is a workplace culture stigmatizing mental health. There remains a reluctance within the workplace to openly discuss mental health. Efforts need to address the grassroots level to increase awareness and openness. Legislative change is required to further encompass mental health, thereby giving (mental health) parity with physical health in safety law. Furthermore, curriculum changes are needed to embed mental health as part of current trade and related educational provisions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 37th Annual ARCOM Conference, 6-7 September 2021
    EditorsLloyd Scott, Christopher J. Neilson
    Place of PublicationLeeds
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9955463-5-6
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2021
    Event37th ARCOM Conference Association of Researchers in Construction Management: Recover, Rebuild and Renew - Virtual, United Kingdom
    Duration: 6 Sept 20217 Sept 2021
    Conference number: 37th


    Conference37th ARCOM Conference Association of Researchers in Construction Management
    Abbreviated titleARCOM
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


    • health and safety
    • mental health
    • small businesses
    • well-being


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