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Reach out, talk to someone, and don’t wait until you are at your lowest, was the message from Ipswich Town’s Jason Dozzell to all those working for local construction firms.

Following the success of Orwell Housing Association’s first Mental Health in Construction event in May of this year, the organisation, in partnership with Ipswich Town Foundation, has once again been urging construction workers across East Anglia to talk openly about their emotions and seek help when needed in a bid to improve the industry’s alarming mental health statistics.  

Yesterday’s event proved equally as popular with 60+ guests attending to hear speakers including Jason Dozzell and Simon Milton, former ITFC players. They shared their lived experiences of mental ill health, discussed the power of friendship and the importance of really asking those close to us if they are ok.

The delegates also heard from Joe Thomson from ITFC Talk Club who shared powerful, personal stories and highlighted why talking is so vital. The event finished with Jon Neal – CEO of Suffolk Mind, talking about how to look after your mental health and those around you. This successful event was a partnership between local contractors Elliston Steady Hawes, Needhams Contracts Ltd, SEH French Construction and Wellington Construction Ltd and was well attended by their workforce.

It follows a 2020 report by the Chartered Institute of Building 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

Greg Dodds, Director Assistant Director of Development and Growth at Orwell, said:

“Yesterdays event was equally as successful as our first and proves that there is a real need for support and learning around mental health.”

“I am very grateful to our sponsors 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 signpost to support, protecting our colleagues now and for the future.”

Leanne Smith, Community Engagement Co-ordinator at Ipswich Town Community Trust, said:

“It was a great pleasure to collaborate with Orwell Housing Association for the second time this year and welcome their local partners to Portman Road, to tackle the ever-growing issue of mental health in the construction industry. While a lot more work needs to be done to address this issue, we hope that coming together yesterday, has helped break down barriers and stigma surrounding men’s mental health and we hope people who may be experiencing a decline in their mental health now realise there is help available. It was another successful event, and we look forward to working together again in the future to keep breaking down barriers.”

Paul Pitcher, Managing Director at Wellington Construction Ltd, said:

“Yesterday’s event was just so important to understand and talk openly about emotional wellbeing and we are delighted to be supporting and partnering with Orwell to raise awareness of mental health within the construction industry."

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