ADCO is proud to partner up with the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity
On a fabulous day in Dublin, key members of the ADCO team gathered on site to welcome Colleen Milligan, Lighthouse Club Charity Representative, to announce details of their new support partnership. There was a real sense of camaraderie, team spirit and optimism. The air sparked with frissons of energy as those present voiced their genuine support for the charity mission and shared touching personal experiences of struggle.
With stress, depression or anxiety accounting for 27% of all work-related illnesses in the construction industry, it is clear there is much work to be done to make sure everyone knows about the support available to them. Just as important is the encouragement from management and peers to take the plunge and actually avail of them.
With an A rating on Safe-T-Cert, ADCO is fully committed to an industry leading Health, Safety and Welfare Policy. Believing this policy needs to be far reaching and should cover not just risk assessments and PPE concerns but should go much further than that to address the issues of stress and mental health among team members. ADCO senior management is committed at all levels to being there to support their team.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Robert O’Reilly, ADCO EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) Manager spoke candidly about his own personal experiences of struggling. “There can be a stigma in the construction industry but we’re not all the macho people we pretend to be.“ he said, adding that “1 in 4 will suffer from some type of mental struggle.”
Robert compared his own experience to a jumble of thoughts being whisked around in a washing machine. The tumble and tossing, the constant agitation without a break. The pressure and unceasing movement leaves no space to breathe. He likened asking for help to finally pressing the pause button. Emphasising his key message that there is help out there for you so don’t be afraid to ask.
A Violin String Can Only Stretch So Far
Colleen spoke about the Lighthouse Charity‘s evolution since its inception. Founded in the UK in the 50’s by three men who wanted to ensure that if a construction worker was injured or out of work their families would be supported. There were many Irish families in construction in England in the 50s who benefited from this previously lacking support system.
Branches began to grow in Ireland when, during the collapse of the Celtic Tiger, a mental health report showed that there were increasing mental health issues in construction. Colleen told the ADCO team that “a string on a violin can only be stretched so far before it breaks – the body and mind are the same – there is a constant tension when dealing with a lot of stress.”
The message reiterated by Colleen was clear; you are not alone in a crisis. Making sure that everyone understood they had options, she detailed some of the more recent supports available from the charity including; counselling for anxiety, stress or other issues for workers and their families, financial assistance for struggling families, answers to questions about debt, mortgages and pensions, a dedicated app with details of all services including financial help, physical help, partner support and even a sleep app. Lighthouse also provides free Masterclasses CPD accredited self-care training on their website in topics like self-care, anxiety and bullying.
Colleen thanked ADCO for their commitment to supporting the Lighthouse Charity annually and drove the message home that stress IS a mental health problem. “Pick up the phone and talk things through.” she says. “Ask for help, it will help you live your life in a healthier more fruitful way.”
Stress Comes in All Shapes and Sizes
Mick Foran, CEO of ADCO spoke enthusiastically about coming on as an annual supporter of Lighthouse. He was delighted to be in a position where the company can help not only their own staff but other workers throughout the industry who may be struggling.
Construction projects are not completed in isolation. They are a carefully choreographed dance with many different contractors coming together to perform their part whole coordinating with the next crew. The design team passes off to the construction crew, the painters can’t do their work until the plasterers have finished. We trust in the skills and experience of those around us to allow us to do our job to the highest standard. This approach means always being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses.
Mick was not afraid to admit that “We are not the experts in mental health which is why we have partnered up with Lighthouse.” But he was quick to recognise the strengths they do possess, singling out Project Manager Francis Kavanagh as a source of empathy, openness and humour onsite with a permanently open door, ready with a quick-witted joke to take the sting out of a hard situation.
Mick also spoke passionately about the free access to mental health managers training and trauma and grief support training for his team, allowing them to help not only themselves but also those around them.
The speech ended on a personal note with Mick sharing the stories of stress and fatigue in his own household. His niece had recently completed her leaving certificate and was finding it quite overwhelming waiting for results and trying to prepare for the next phase of life at the same time. It was touching to hear him share a story so close and personal. By naming the ordinariness of these issues he created a space where stress does not need to be something unusual or rare. It can come in all shapes and sizes and looks different for everyone.
Mick wants his team to know that they can come and talk to him or use any other channel they feel comfortable with just so long as they don’t suffer in silence. “Come to us, we’ll guide you in the right direction” he finished with.
Who are The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity?
The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity provides emotional, physical and financial wellbeing support to construction workers and their families. They receive no public funding and rely on the generosity of those within the industry to help them continue their vital work.
Lighthouse was founded in 1956 by a group of gentlemen who vowed that their goal was to unite and benefit the entire industry. From that day forward, the Lighthouse Club has offered aid and assistance to ill or injured construction workers facing a broad array of struggles.
A crucial element of their strategy is to provide a range of free and widely available proactive resources to support the industry including a free 24/7 construction industry helpline, a construction industry helpline app and construction focused wellbeing and mental health training.
To find out more about the support options available and to learn more about the work Lighthouse does, visit their website here.
Download the app here