The latest edition of The Civil Quarterly (TCQ) from Dodge Construction Network features new data on how civil construction companies are attempting to address mental health.
The report, produced in partnership with Infotech and Hexagon, is based on a quarterly survey of civil contractors and engineers that examines the business conditions that they face. The responses about mental health reveal an industry still seeking to fully engage with this issue, with only 34% of contractor respondents reporting that staff at their company have good access to resources that help address mental health issues. Since construction industry workers are recognized by the CDC as at a higher risk of suicide than those in most other industries, this finding demonstrates the need in the industry to offer more support.
When asked about their company’s approach to supporting mental health, 77% of civil contractors indicated some level of effort. However, even the most widely used means of addressing mental health—employee assistance programs and providing information on where workers can access mental health assessment websites—are only reported by about one third of the respondents.
One of the areas that the study reveals needs more attention is training on mental health for leadership at the company and project levels. Twice as many respondents rank training programs on the importance of mental health issues and recognizing the warning signs for suicide among the top most effective means to improve mental health in the industry, compared to the number who state these types of programs are offered at their company. The finding provides a clear suggestion about what the industry believes would add the most value to address this issue.
One other promising finding is that, when asked about the state of mind/state of mental health at their organization currently compared with five years ago, far more civil contractors (36%) report improvements than worsening conditions (15%). This is likely influenced by the high levels of job security currently at most companies in an industry still struggling with skilled worker shortages, but it may also be due in part to heightened attention to the issue of mental health that has occurred since health became a bigger priority for companies during the Covid pandemic.