Calls to tackle mental health stigma as two skilled trade workers take their own lives every day

There are calls for more support for people working in the construction sector as figures show around two workers in the industry take their own lives every day.

Despite the number of suicides across England falling in recent years, the rate remains most prevalent among those working in the construction industry.

In 2021, 15% of all suicides were by those working within skilled trades - with around half of those being attributed to the construction and building trade.

'Battle buses' against suicide within the industry, like this one at the NEC in Birmingham, are being laid on at construction exhibitions. Credit: ITV News

ITV News has spoken to tradespeople across the country, many who say mental health is an issue within the industry.

Many point to the loneliness and isolation caused by the job, especially those who are sole traders. Others say there are many pressures within the industry, whether it's trying to win jobs, complete them, or get paid for them.

Former Apprentice star Michaela Wain, who runs her own construction firm, says the industry - which is predominately made up of men - needs to do more to tackle mental health stigma.

Former The Apprentice finalist Michaela Wain said more needs to be done within the industry to tackle mental health stigma. Credit: ITV News

Ms Wain said: "This has to be addressed head on. Some of the reasons are this societal perception of this masculine environment and keeping up with the strong masculinity on site."

She added: "We have a lack of understanding of mental health. Around 40% of employers within the construction industry actually don't even have a mental health policy."

Bill Hill helps run the team behind the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, which provides support for those struggling. Credit: ITV News

Workers are turning to charities like the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity for help.

It’s now receiving more than 400 calls a month from families within the construction industry who are in crisis.

Bill Hill, the charity's Chief Executive, told ITV News: "We offer emotional support, physical support and financial support to anybody in the industry. We do that through a 24/7 helpline, we do it through a text back service, we do it through education programs."

Speaking of the help his team has provided, he said: "That program alone in last six months we've seen over 30,000 workers on site, and the key thing that I'm so delighted about, we've had 125 people come to us who have had suicidal thoughts, and we've got them immediately into counseling - and they’re still with us today."

On World Mental Health Day (10th October), the charity is calling on all construction workers to carry out a five-minute mental health check-in, in the hopes that a quick check on a mate can help in the industry's battle against suicide.

If you are in need of help and support, please contact:

  • Lighthouse Club, which is a leading construction industry charity that helps those struggling with their mental health. It has a 24/7 helpline, text support services, self-support app and support groups. Contact the helpline on: 0345 605 1956 or text HARDHAT to 85258

  • Mind is a mental health charity which promotes the views and needs of people with mental health issues. It provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem, and campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. Call 0300 123 3393 or email

  • Samaritans is an organisation offering confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone 116 123 (a free 24 hour helpline) or email

  • Shout is a 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone struggling to cope and in need of immediate help. Text SHOUT to 85258.

  • SOS Silence of Suicide provides a listening service for people who need emotional support, understanding, compassion & kindness. Phone 0300 102 0505

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