International Men’s Day hero

International Men’s Day


Founded in 1999, International Men’s Day is an annual event celebrated on the 19th November, communities from more than 70 countries worldwide will come together to support this year’s theme ‘Better Health for Men and Boys’. A 2018 survey conducted by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) found 99% of construction site workers to be male, whilst many official days popping up across the media represent the more marginalised topics and groups in society, we know men ought to be celebrated too.

This year we asked STS Group Managing Director, Richie Hogan, for his insight into men’s health in the construction industry.

How are attitudes changing towards men’s health in the construction industry?

Traditionally men working in the construction industry would not have spoken openly about their health, particularly mental health.  In recent years, key stakeholders and companies across the industry have recognised the importance of mental health and wellbeing, a substantial amount of work has gone in to developing campaigns that support men’s health initiatives. At STS we put a real focus on making sure information is available at site level to our workers, the natural by-product of this means more men are talking about their health and the traditional attitudes towards men seeking the help they need, be it mental or physical, are changing for the better.

Are men shying away from discussing health concerns?

I feel some men, particularly of an older generation, would still feel a stigma attached to discussing their health concerns with others and would try and compartmentalise these concerns. However, I have noticed a change in the younger generations who would generally feel free to speak openly about such concerns.

With so many pressures from day to day life accumulating stress on our bodies, we often hear health experts asking us to ‘restore the balance’. How do you maintain a balance?

I think that it’s important to play to your strengths – Don’t try and be all things to all people. Prioritise your time.

As we live through the ramifications of COVID-19. What do you foresee the main issues pertaining to men’s health?

The impact of Covid 19 has been exponential and continues to evoke feelings of anxiety and fear across all groups in society, not just men. There is a real concern people are not reaching out for the care they need, attendance to emergency departments across Ireland has fallen dramatically since we entered Level 5 restrictions and this needs to be addressed.

What can employers do to support better health for their male workers?

Ensuring the safety, health and wellbeing of our employees is our number one priority. We take a collaborative approach to supporting the health of our staff by promoting campaigns and initiatives on topics that relate the demographic of our workforce. One of the most valuable tools we have available is our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), this tailored professional service was launched in 2017, and is available to our workers as well as their families in confidence. The service is available 24 hours a day, offering one-to-one support on a variety of life’s milestones including retirement, personal crisis and managing money.

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