Our Safety Advisor, Trainer and Mental Health First Aider Louise Collins writes:
For those of you who have been following my journey through mental health in construction and have read my two previous blogs, you will know that I have recently became an approved MHFA England tutor, delivering the Mental Health First Aid courses.
Whenever I teach, talk, research or discuss anything relating to mental health I am always stuck by the fact that keeps coming up again and again – minority groups, such as LBGT+ are at a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health, including depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm and alcohol and substance misuse.
Stonewall published a LGBT in Britain Health Report in November 2018 identified that 52% of LGBT people said they had experienced depression in the last year.
In February 2019, Government Equalities Office National LGBT Survey identified that 68% of all LGBT avoided being open about their sexual orientation for fear of a negative reaction, with 19% of all LGBT with a job for the preceding 12 months not feeling comfortable being open out their sexual orientation the workplace. I cannot help but feel incredibly sad by this. As someone is part of the LGBT community, the realisation that this is still the world we live in is tough to swallow.
My mind then naturally goes to the LGBT community and the construction industry. I am very aware that some industries have been working tirelessly to improve LGBT awareness and equality in their workplaces. Stonewall UK have released a list of the top 100 employers for LGBT people in 2019. But have we done the same in construction? My honest opinion is that we haven’t. I feel that construction lets down us in the LGBT community. I believe there is still a lot of stigma around LGBT awareness, and this could be having a real impact on those within the community. Not feeling able to be yourself, having to hide who you are or having to take the ‘banter’ if you do come out can have a seriously negative affect on someone’s mental health.
So, I am reaching out. To anyone who works in the construction industry who either identifies with the LGBT community and/or anyone who wants to help us make the positive changes we need.
I am starting #LGBTlighthouse on social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
My goal is to have regular meetings where we can get together, look at the challenges we face, identify ways we can improve awareness and offer support to each other. Creating a positive and friendly environment.
Help me to start the movement to improve LGBT equality in construction.
Follow us @LGBT_lighthouse. Email me: Louise@lighthousesafety.co.uk