Skanska UK plc

Skanska, one of the UK’s leading contractors, is an inclusive and responsible business that is helping to build for a better society. Known for major projects, such as the Gherkin and Crossrail, we are building, upgrading and maintaining the country’s infrastructure. Drawing on our Scandinavian heritage, we are green, innovative and progressive. We bring together people and technology, as part of our quest to make construction a safer and more collaborative industry.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

Skanska UK is committed to raise mental health awareness throughout the business and our contractors.  We have a mental health and wellbeing strategy which has 4 strands: leadership, building capability, employee voice and resource availability and reach.


• We signed the ‘time to change commitment’ in February 2016.

• Our CEO has made mental health a key focus area in our strategic plans.

• Collaborate across the industry to raise the topic and mental health literacy eg HiCLG, Mates in Mind.

• Developing our Post incident plan so we are prepared as a business to respond to the immediacy and longer term implications of suicide in the workplace.

• Will facilitate a series of workshops for our supply chain to help them start their mental wellbeing journey. We provide the free health expertise and resources to get going.

Building capability

• Collaborated with MIND to develop suicide Awareness workshops for our managers and HR.

• We have trained over 350 people in mental health ‘lite’ awareness in past 18 months, with 225 of these employees being MH Ambassadors.

• Introduced a work impact questionnaire to identify individuals and teams who might be experiencing work stress

Employee voice

• A mental health ‘stand up’ where the whole organisation stops work and a leader will facilitate a conversation  and activities to encourage people to talk about mental health.

• Time to Talk events are held twice a year so we can encourage people to have a conversation about mental health issues and know where resources can be found.


• Resources developed around talking about suicide for managers, Let’s talk about suicide – how a business recovers workshop, 24/7 EAP service.

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What are your current priorities?

Let’s talk about suicide – how does a business recover? Workshop

• We will recognise Suicide Awareness day (Sept 10th) on Wednesday 13 Sept by holding this workshop and webinar for our senior and line managers and HR teams. We have a leading Psychologist Pam Steel who will help us better understand how and what we need to do in these situations we have invited Psychologist, Pam Steele, who has supported many organisations with just this scenario to talk us through what workplace practises can assist recovery and some of the managerial behaviours that should be avoided after this type of tragic event.

Suicide Awareness workshops for managers and HR teams

• We are rolling out suicide awareness training for managers, mental health ambassadors and HR.

• By this end they will be better able to:• Define what is meant by suicidality and the spectrum of suicidal risk.

• Identify some common risk factors for suicidal behaviour.

• List some basic questions that you can ask a suicidal person to determine the seriousness of the situation.

• Describe the basic steps to take when someone presents as a suicide risk.

• Identify sources of help and support for a person at risk and yourself when dealing with a suicidal person.

Making the connection about mental health

• In 2018, we will deliver a 45 minute ‘stand up’ to get the mental health conversation going across the entire Skanska UK workforce and any supply chain contractors working on site. The ‘stand up’ is a loosely scripted event that is led by the leadership teams to people working in their dept/sites/projects. The script is developed by our master trainers and the theme is about starting a conversation with someone about their mental health. It has several interactive exercises to break the ice as well giving them tools to feel confident. We will also continue to upskill all our managers in the 3.5 hr Mental Health lite training delivered by MHFA England.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

Mental health is a new subject to the construction industry which has become an increasing area of attention due to the latest research that tells us the construction is a vulnerable sector.
The typical workforce are male, peripatetic and have an average age of 43 years – all these factors will influence the reach and success of our programme.
Additionally, communication routes are limited to tool box talks at operative level which is reliant on the subject being of interest to the presenter (typically a supervisor) and confident to talk about the subject.

We are probably more enabled than many organisations with not only the infrastructure but heath expertise – we believe that we can support smaller organisations to build their mental health literacy and will do this through our facilitated workshops with the supply chain in 2018.

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