Mates in Mind extends its reach into Northern Ireland

Mates in Mind has extended its reach into Northern Ireland through partnership with leading mental health charity, Inspire Knowledge and Leadership. The partnership means that construction companies and workers throughout Northern Ireland can access the full support of the Mates in Mind programme.

Mental health in construction is a significant issue, with over a third of construction workers having experienced a condition in the past year, and almost a quarter of workers considering leaving the industry due to mental health related issues (Randstad). Mates in Mind is a charity set up for and by the construction industry, to help organisations improve mental health and wellbeing of their workforce. Since launching its programme in September 2017, almost 70 construction companies have already become Supporters of the charity, each of whom are striving to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their own workforce and across the industry.

The partnership with Inspire will enable the charity to reach construction workers in Northern Ireland with a range of programme support, training and awareness programmes as well as counselling support services.

Inspire is a charity and social enterprise based in Northern Ireland that promotes mental health and wellbeing. Through Inspire’s training network, which includes three training locations as well as a mobile training facility, Northern Ireland-based construction and construction-related trade workers will have access to the full range of the Mates in Mind training and awareness programmes. These include the innovative Start the Conversation course, line manager and supervisory training as well as Mental Health First Aid training. As well as becoming a Supporter of Mates in Mind, sole traders and small businesses will also have access to unlimited 24/7 phone based counselling support.   

The programme has been developed in collaboration with key members of the Workplace Health Leadership Group (NI) (WHLG (NI)), as well as in liaison with the Construction Employers Federation NI (CEFNI), the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), CITB NI and Buildhealth NI.

Richard McIvor, Chair of IOSH Ireland RCC, IOSH Council Member, and WHLG (NI) Co-Founding Member commented: “WHLG (NI) members are delighted to have acted as the catalyst in bringing Mates in Mind to Northern Ireland. Since its inception at the Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG), we have been keen to bring it to Northern Ireland, to service local needs, including those of individuals and contractors who routinely work in GB. We are also encouraged by the desire of Mates in Mind to serve the requirements of the Northern Ireland industry by providing a bespoke package, including a local delivery partner – Inspire, who are accessible to SMEs.”

Steve Hails, Chair of Mates in Mind, commented: “Sole traders and small businesses represent the vast majority of construction workers in NI, a workforce that is often difficult to reach when it comes to mental health awareness and support, and largely without access to professional counselling support service. We welcome this partnership with Inspire and through a collaborative approach with our partners WHLGNI, CEFNI, FMB, CITBNI and Buildhealth NI, we have developed a programme that not only provides a solid range of training and awareness programmes, but also ongoing counselling support.”

John Conaghan, Group Director of Professional Services at Inspire commented: “Inspire are delighted to announce our partnership with Mates in Mind to deliver mental health and wellbeing support to the construction industry in Northern Ireland. As Ireland’s leading provider of workplace wellbeing support services, we understand how important it is to engage with employees and organisations at all levels and the Mates in Mind programme provides an innovative platform to enable the construction industry to positively impact on the stigma traditionally associated with mental health.”