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Orwell Housing Association and Ipswich Town Community Trust join forces to build better wellbeing in the construction industry.

Orwell Housing Association, a leading provider of affordable housing and care and support services in East Anglia, has, once again, joined forces with Ipswich Town Community Trust to address the critical issue of mental health within the construction industry.

Orwell teamed up with key industry stakeholders to host an event focused on increasing awareness around support for mental health issues and how mental health issues can lead to gambling addiction.

The construction industry is known for its demanding and often high-pressure environment, which can take a toll on the mental well-being of those employed within it. Recognising the importance of addressing these challenges, Orwell Housing Association has continued with its important initiative to raise awareness and provide a platform for discussing mental health issues within the construction sector.

In 2020, the Chartered Institute of Building published a report which found that 26% of construction industry professionals thought about taking their own lives, and that between 70% - 87% of respondents experienced depression or anxiety.

The event proved even more popular than the last, with 60+ guests attending to hear from three speakers with lived experiences. Ian Semel, from the gambling support charity Breakeven, talked about the causes and effects of problem gambling and how Breakeven can provide free support and advice to anyone affected. George Parris, former West Ham football player, shared his personal story, the impact gambling had on his life and how, with help, he overcame these challenges.

Finally, delegates heard from Combat2Coffee’s founder Nigel Seaman, who shared his mental health journey and how a historic trauma while serving in the army led to struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and gambling – and how his recovery has driven him to help others.

Speaking about the event, Nigel said, “Mental ill health is something that can affect us all – and we can all say there have been days when we’ve felt better.

“Events like this are so important in getting the message out there about how important conversation can be when it comes to mental health.

“Through Combat2Coffee we are showing the power of a cuppa and a chat in breaking down barriers and encouraging people to open up about their wellbeing.

“I hope the event will have inspired members of their team to look out for and support one another – and show that it’s ok to not be ok.”

Greg Dodds, Director Assistant Director of Development and Growth at Orwell, said: “This was the third event of its kind, and we wanted to specifically focus on the connection between mental health issues and gambling addiction because we know this is a significant concern within the construction industry. By collaborating with our partners, we aim to share support and knowledge, and promote a culture of well-being in construction. This is just the beginning of our efforts to drive change and create a healthier work environment both for the contractors we work with directly and for anyone else in the industry.

“I am very grateful to our sponsors and partners who have helped us to reach even more people within the local construction industry and have supported us to promote open conversations about mental health and gambling. I'm also extremely grateful to our three speakers who were so open and honest and whose stories will have real impact”.

This successful event was a partnership between Orwell Housing Association, Ipswich Town Community Trust and local contractors Elliston Steady Hawes, Needhams Contracts Ltd, SEH French Construction and Wellington Construction Ltd.

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