Meet the Ipswich construction firm battling industry’s shocking suicide rate

Red7Marine are fighting against the high suicide rate plauging the construction industry. Photo: Dan

Red7Marine are fighting against the high suicide rate plauging the construction industry. Photo: Daniel Jones. - Credit: Archant

A marine construction firm is fighting back against the suicides plaguing its sector.

Red7Marine, which is based in Fox’s Marina, Ipswich, has been developing a mentoring programme to support the mental wellbeing of staff in light of shocking statistics.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), more than 1,400 construction workers took their own lives between 2011 and 2015.

Red7Marine says it is aware poor mental health is an issue impacting thousands of construction workers in Suffolk and has vowed to set the bar and make a difference.

MORE: 57 new homes to replace former council offices The Ipswich firm is hoping to encourage a positive culture change within the construction industry through the Your7Mentor project.

The idea is simple – people need someone to talk with, to share problems with and receive advice from.

Each team member is given a mentor who is on hand to offer support, guidance and advice.

A spokesman explained the initiative helps staff as they try to balance work pressures and career ambitions against their personal life

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They said: “The programme aims to build positive well being both mentally and physically.”

In recent years the issues and problems surrounding mental health have garnered much attention in the national media as worrying trends emerge.

According to mental health charity Samaritans, there were 5,821 suicides in the UK in 2017.

Men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women - with the construction industry classically a more male-dominated sector this raises serious issues for employers.

Chief executive Nick Offord said: “Red7Marine is built on foundations of a solid culture.

“We want to challenge the construction industry to make a positive difference, to offer support and guidance to employees and to retain them in this exciting and dynamic industry.”

He added: “It’s more important than ever to provide the necessary support to employees.

“Knowing how to start the conversation and knowing how to safely signpost peers to mental health services can make a huge difference at the early signs of mental health.

“We hope this will encourage others in the industry to take a stand and make a difference.”