The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has nominated Mental Health UK and Samaritans as its charity partners for 2020. Both charities support people affected by mental health problems, a subject that the BMF believes merits both fundraising support and greater attention within the building materials supply industry.
Mental Health UK’s CEO, Brian Dow, was one of the speakers at the the All Industry Conference this Summer, alongside mental health campaigners Neil Laybourn and Jonny Benjamin MBE, whose powerful presentation based on personal experience highlighted the importance of strengthening mental health awareness within our industry.
Mental Health UK supports people affected by mental health problems including friends, family and carers. Samaritans is the largest dedicated suicide prevention charity that offers emotional support to anyone in distress. Every six seconds, a volunteer answers a call for help.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 45, affecting people from every walk of life. The Construction News 2018 Mental Health Survey found more than half of those in the construction trade (57%) said they had experienced mental health issues at some point, and one in four workers across the industry have considered taking their own life.
Brian Dow, CEO of Mental Health UK, said: “We’re really excited to announce this partnership and to develop the conversation about mental health in such a vital industry. Mental Health UK combines the strength of four charities to support people with mental health problems. This collegiate approach to the issue from the BMF is pioneering and we’re also thrilled to be working with our close friends and colleagues at Samaritans. We believe that by combining forces we can help promote the importance of mental health in the industry and make a positive impact on the federation’s members across the UK.”
Matt Lock, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Samaritans said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as charity partner for 2020. This support will allow Samaritans to continue to be there for anyone in distress. We know the risk of suicide in the construction industry is high, so we are looking forward to raising awareness of the support service and the importance of listening, as this can save lives.”
In the past two years, the BMF has worked with the industry to raise just under £250,000 for its partner charities.
John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “The two charities selected as our partners this year are particularly pertinent as there is a growing understanding within our industry that mental health is as important as physical health. In addition to vital fundraising, and of equal importance, we will be working with our charity partners to promote training to raise awareness amongst staff and customers and improve mental health in the workplace.”