26 Sep World Mental Health Day 2023: Mental Health as a Universal Human Right
World Mental Health Day 2023
October 10th marks a significant day on our calendars, a day where globally we come together to acknowledge, support, and act – it’s World Mental Health Day. Each year, this day has brought forth a theme aimed at catalysing conversations and dispelling myths related to various facets of mental health. This year’s theme, “Mental Health is a universal human right“, couldn’t be more apt, reminding us that the right to mental well-being is not a privilege but a fundamental human necessity.
Mental Health in the Construction Industry
Historically, themes for World Mental Health Day have zoomed in on specific conditions such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. By spotlighting these conditions, the global community has been able to address and debunk misconceptions, ensuring that as we talk about these conditions, we do so with knowledge, empathy, and understanding. But why link mental health to the construction industry? The answer is simple. Construction, an industry marked by high pressures, tight deadlines, and physical demands, has seen its workers often grappling with mental health challenges. A 2020 report found that construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at the workplace in Australia. It underscores the pressing need for awareness, understanding, and resources within this sector.
Tips for Improving Mental Health
- Physical Activity Beyond Work: While construction is often physically demanding, structured fitness routines like group workouts, morning run or team-based sports after work can offer therapeutic benefits. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Engaging in fitness not directly related to job tasks can also provide a refreshing break from the routine and boost overall health.
- Scheduled Catch-Ups with Mates: Regularly schedule downtime to catch up with friends or colleagues after work. This can be a weekly barbecue, coffee chats, or even an occasional fishing trip. It’s vital to have these outlets where workers can talk openly about their stresses and lean on each other for support.
- Mindfulness and Meditation: Introduce techniques like mindfulness and meditation, specifically tailored to the busy and challenging environment of a construction site. Even a 10-minute guided meditation break can help workers refocus, reduce stress and build resilience over time. Apps like Headspace or Calm offer quick sessions that can easily be integrated into smoko breaks.
- Healthy Diet and Hydration: While on site, it’s easy for workers to rely on quick, unhealthy snacks. Staying hydrated, especially in the Australian sun, is also crucial. Encourage the intake of water and provide resources on the benefits of reducing excessive caffeine and sugary drinks.
Initiatives to Support Mental Health
In Australia, several initiatives and helplines are dedicated to mental health support:
- Lifeline Australia (13 11 14): A national helpline that offers 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services.
- Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636): Provides comprehensive mental health support, including resources, advice, and forums.
- Head to Health: A virtual mental health resource providing links to free and low-cost phone and online services.
World Mental Health Day 2023
As we observe World Mental Health Day 2023, let’s remember that mental health care is everyone’s responsibility. The construction industry, with its unique challenges, needs collective action. As we uphold the belief that “Mental Health is a universal human right”, we must ensure that this right is extended to every individual, regardless of their profession.
Here’s to building a mentally healthier, more supportive, and understanding world for all.