Lighthouse: making a visible difference on site


Bill Hill, chief executive of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, talks about the organisation’s latest campaign to help mental wellbeing.

Last spring, our charity unveiled a groundbreaking initiative aimed at uniting the construction industry behind a singular wellbeing programme. Today, after nine months of dedicated efforts, the Make It Visible campaign is making significant strides towards ensuring that wellbeing support is not just acknowledged but visibly present on every worksite.

This initiative emphasises that the industry’s wellbeing, particularly emotional health, is a collective responsibility – bringing together contractors, clients and professionals to create a formidable force. 

The campaign outlines a concrete plan of action while fostering a collaborative approach towards wellbeing. Key objectives are to:

  • unify industry wellbeing projects into a major, recognisable movement;
  • learn and publish best practices from both domestic and international sources;
  • deliver promptly measurable improvements to workforce wellbeing; 
  • promote a proactive, preventative approach to wellbeing; and
  • drive long-term cultural change, fostering equality, diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect, to make construction an appealing career choice for the next generation.

The driving force behind the campaign is our dedicated Make It Visible onsite team, which has visited over 500 worksites and engaged with more than 30,000 site workers. 

These visits are a crucial component of the campaign, allowing us to connect with tradespeople, ensuring they are aware of support and how to access it.

Our research, in collaboration with Glasgow Caledonian University, indicates that trades and self-employed individuals within the sector have the highest suicide rates. This underscores the importance of reaching out at grassroots level. 

Our team comprises members from the trades themselves, sharing their personal struggles and making the message relatable and resonant.

One-on-one support

In addition to delivering informative wellbeing ‘Toolbox Talks,’ our team sets up a stand with the Make It Visible van, providing a safe space for one-on-one conversations about any issues with which workers may be grappling.

Last year alone, our onsite team, through simple conversations, made a life-changing and life-saving impact. They intervened with 147 workers experiencing suicidal thoughts, providing immediate support and implementing positive interventions.

Since its launch in January 2023, the Make It Visible website has evolved into a portal offering information, advice and guidance for the entire industry. 

Research-based content directs users to various support pathways, including onsite promotional materials and videos featuring real workers discussing issues such as stress, anger and anxiety. These authentic stories aim to inspire hope and convey the message that help is available.

Online chat service

As part of our ongoing efforts to diversify support pathways, we recently introduced a live online chat service, providing real-time wellbeing support from helpline advisers. This offers immediate help without the necessity of a telephone conversation.

We are also extending support to wellbeing champions and mental health first aiders, ensuring those who carry the emotional weight of the workforce are supported in managing their own wellbeing.

Make It Visible stands as a testament to the industry’s commitment to fostering a culture of wellbeing, resilience and support. By joining forces, we are not just transforming worksites, but creating a lasting impact on the lives of those within the construction industry.

Visit www.makeitvisible.info to be a part of this vital movement.

APS has been a great supporter of the Lighthouse Club for some time and will be working to strengthen those bonds this year with a series of joint events around the regions.

Reach out for free, confidential support at 24/7 helplines: 0345 605 1956 (UK); 1800 939 122 (ROI). Or text HARDHAT to 85258 (UK) 50808 (ROI). Live chat services are available 9am-6pm via: lighthouseclub.org; constructionindustryhelpline.com; and makeitvisible.info.

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