North Shields-based, Carney Consultancy, has announced the launch of a mental health awareness programme to help support the wellbeing of men in construction, the sector with the highest number of male suicides, year on year.

The company is calling on organisations to come forward and help support the campaign and keep it going.

‘Come On Lads Let’s Talk’ offers face-to-face, online, telephone and ‘walk and talk’ counselling or therapy with trained professionals, with the first six sessions paid for by Carney Consultancy.

Poor mental health is the biggest cause of death in the construction industry. According to the Office for National Statistics, more than 1,400 construction workers took their own life in the UK between 2011 and 2017, more than three times the national average for men.

Carney Consultancy was established by managing director, Angela Carney, as a specialist health, safety, environmental and quality consultancy and training provider for the construction and engineering sectors.

In this latest move, the firm has handpicked three specialists to implement ‘Come On Lads Let’s Talk’ across the North East. They are life coach and mentor, Suzanne Barbour Coaching, who will cover Teesside. Ann Hunter, Tyne Counselling, in the Durham area and Kate Chartres Therapy and Consultation, will work with individuals within North Tyneside and Newcastle.

Following a period of personal self-growth, which saw Angela herself benefit from therapy in 2018, she looked at ways to help other people struggling within the construction sector.

Angela said: “In the UK construction industry the suicide rate is four times higher than in any other sector and the North East is one of the highest areas. We want to change this.

“I have been fortunate to benefit from therapy and I am a huge advocate of getting support from an external therapist or coach. We wanted to utilise specialists based across the North East, each with a slightly different offering, to meet the various needs of individuals suffering from mental health issues.

“Suzanne Barbour, Kate Chartres and Ann Hunter are people I know and admire well and, so far, eight people have benefitted from their services, which Carney Consultancy has funded.

“My aim is to encourage men who may be struggling within the construction sector to reach out and tap into this support. I am also calling on organisations within the sector to help us with funding and to raise awareness amongst employees within their teams or memberships.”

Kate Chartres, said: “To be able to offer people access to bespoke mental health support of this kind is a step-change for the construction sector and is deserving of much wider industry adoption, which I am sure will come.

“I feel privileged to assist people who are experiencing difficulties, many have struggled to access services elsewhere and, as a result, have felt judged. I am able to restore their faith in talking to someone and accessing help.

“On average, men are three times more likely to take their own life than women. There are high risk groups and construction workers are one of them. The North East sadly has the highest rate of suicide in England. The office of National statistics rated an 11% rise from 2019-2020. Sadly, this increased again at the end of 2021 to 14.8 per 100,000.  So, there is still much to be done to help support high-risk individuals.”