FEBRUARY – 10th February, 1pm
GUEST – Dave Lee, Building Site to Boardroom
Following their excellent coverage in Construction News as part of the Mind Matters initiative, we are delighted to welcome our February guest, Dave Lee, director of not-for-profit company Building Site to Boardroom (BS2B), an organisation set up to support mental wellbeing in construction
Dave struggled with depression for 20 years. After his parents put him in care when they divorced, Dave spent time in and out of jail before he “fell into” construction, eventually leading the delivery of million-pound jobs.
But the stresses of the industry and responsibility took their toll and Dave turned to alcohol and drugs. “I was drinking heavily and using drugs to cope. I couldn’t even go to a pub unless I had a drink – only then did I have the courage to talk to people.”
Stories like Dave’s experiences are not uncommon. But due to the lack of open conversation around mental health in construction, you wouldn’t have thought it.
It is estimated that one in four of us will experience a mental health issue in our lifetimes. But a stigma surrounds mental health, so much so that it remains a taboo subject in industries like construction.
With the construction industry accounting for more than 6 per cent of the UK’s workforce, it is likely that hundreds of thousands of people are experiencing mental health problems, many of them in silence. But there is a clear lack of open dialogue surrounding this issue: from building site to boardroom, there is little chance of seeing work stop for discussion on issues such as loneliness, anxiety, panic attacks or personality disorders.