Prince William has visited a data centre construction site in Park Royal to discuss suicide in the construction industry and raise awareness of the need to focus on prevention when it comes to mental health support.
The Prince’s visit to the Microsoft data centre, comes ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2023 and also revealed that workers in construction are at some of the highest risk of suicide in the country, with rates in the industry nearly four times higher than the national average.
Sarah Meek, managing director of campaigning group Mates in Mind said: “We were truly honoured to host a visit from The Prince of Wales today, to discuss the importance of focusing on prevention, rather than crisis management, to reduce the unacceptably high number of suicides in the construction industry. As a charity we aim to ensure that no-one experiences mental ill-health through their work. Therefore, it was a wonderful opportunity during this visit to be able to raise awareness of mental health, to start conversations about the issues and contributory factors faced at all levels within construction, the impact that arises, and continue eradicating the stigma of mental ill-health and the barriers that surround it.”
Ms Meek added: “We are truly grateful to The Prince for spending the time learning about the issues, the charity and the transformational work underway. I would personally like to thank everyone who made the visit possible, including our friends at Mace, Logan Price (MPB Structures), Jordan Smith (SM5 Developments), Steve Hails and others in making this visit such a success.”
The Prince heard from leading mental health charity Mates in Mind about the expertise that they provide to empower employers and key stakeholders across the construction industry, including contractors, supply chains and policy makers, to bring the proactive change that is needed to improve mental wellbeing and the factors that contribute towards this in the sector.
Mates in Mind has worked closely with hundreds of companies over recent years committed in taking this holistic approach around improving mental health to recognise the pressures faced by construction workers and explore how the industry can adapt from within to address these issues head on.
Supporters include Mace, who are building the Microsoft data centre that His Royal Highness visited. Mates in Mind says the partnership working includes placing a strong focus on promoting the implementation of proactive prevention strategies within the sector to ensure that employers support workers to maintain their mental health to both identify and address issues early.
Mike Barford, Mace’s project director said: “It was a real honour to meet with The Prince of Wales and share some of the work that we’ve been doing with our site team to support them with their mental health. The culture around mental health and wellbeing in our industry is improving, but far too slowly – and we know if we want to make a real difference we need genuine cultural change. I hope that moments like this one can help to drive that shift in attitudes.”