Building mental resilience in the construction industry

From a free daily breakfast to group fitness sessions and financial support, Pensar is leading the charge to help both team members and contractors feel connected, engaged and supported with aims to improve both physical and mental health.

October is National Safety Month and Human Resources Manager for Pensar, Shane Kelly, said Pensar was working hard to deliver a holistic health and safety program aimed to help combat mental health issues and provide support where most needed.

“Statistics show that people working in construction are twice as likely to commit suicide than those in other sectors, and 21 per cent of workers have had a mental health condition,” Mr Kelly said.

“Considering Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals the construction industry employs more than one million people and employment has increased over the last five years by around 19.6 per cent, these are sobering figures.”

“At Pensar we have a number of programs in place to support our team members,” Mr Kelly said.

“We offer an office breakfast each day to help ensure that they eat well. Nutrition has an enormous impact on performance and mental acuity and we back this up with some of our fitness-based activities.”

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Pensar’s Coach Cyclone program gets the team out of the office and letting off some steam in the boxing ring, and performance events have seen workers completing the Pensar Trek and Do A Trek (a 42km high endurance hike) as well as the more challenging Kokoda Trail.

“We believe that if we can help our staff to eat well, be healthy and feel less stressed, we are equipping them with the ability to perform well both at work and after hours,” he said.

Additionally, team members are offered access to a professional and confidential employee assistance program ( ) to help with their emotional and physiological wellbeing.

These programs offer support for stress, anxiety, depression, relationship issues and traumatic events. Team members can learn skills, contact the hotline and receive immediate help, and work with professional therapists to learn, grow and cope with whatever life throws at them.

“We find that this helps with lower absenteeism, reduces our staff turnover and helps with our overall productivity,” Mr Kelly said.

One of Pensar’s other programs is Infra Foundation which offers financial support for people in the infrastructure industry

“Staying connected with our staff and helping them to grow really is about being an employer of choice and a place that people want to work with or for. It makes our staff feel connected and valued,” he said.

The construction industry represents a substantial sector of the economy and is a huge driver of growth, contributing to GDP and supporting both upstream and downstream industries such as those that produce raw building materials as well as those involved in the final product (sales, finance, legal, marketing etc).

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