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Men's Mental Health in the Wind Industry

The statistics around mental health in the UK are sobering. 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental ill health in England each year. 1 in 15 people will attempt suicide, and men will be three times more likely to take their own life than women. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. With the majority of wind turbine technicians being men, this is something that we need to be aware of.


If we look at the role of a wind turbine technician, some factors can contribute to mental ill health but also present an opportunity for colleagues to help, if they know what to look for.


The role often requires periods of working away from home, support networks and routines on rotation, for weeks at a time. Working in a high-risk environment with colleagues who may be little more than strangers can be an isolating experience. Conversely, during the off-season, they may miss their working team and the ‘highs’ of the job, and there may be financial worries about when the next pay check will arrive.


Men's Mental Health in the Wind Industry

It can be difficult to spot the signs of mental ill health, and many people will choose to try and hide the signs that they are suffering. If you are working with someone who might be experiencing mental ill health, some signs could mean they are suffering:


  • Using substances or alcohol to self-medicate

  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating

  • Feeling excessively low

  • Feeling excessively worried, angry, irritated  or fearful

  • Changes in physical appearance - decline in hygiene

  • Not being able to carry out everyday tasks, becoming easily stressed

  • Insomnia, feeling tired

  • Changes in eating habits

  • Changes in mood

  • Difficulties in perceiving reality


It is also important to note that there may be no perceivable symptoms at all, but this does not always mean someone is ‘fine’.


Paul Bannister, Director of ManHealth, noted that “The majority of men who take their own lives do not associate themselves with being mentally unwell”. Due to this, he notes that it is important to “watch out for changes and any behaviours outside of the ordinary in our male colleagues and provide safe, non-judgemental places for them to be listened to”.


ManHealth - A Men's Mental Health Charity

Paul Bannister, Director of ManHealth


If you suspect that someone you work with might be suffering from mental ill health, you can offer them the opportunity to talk, if they wish to. This could be as simple as asking a colleague how they are doing. ‘Active listening’ is a tool which gives someone a chance to talk and be heard without judgement. For some people, this can be extremely helpful.


For tips on how to talk about mental health, MIND has some great resources such as this one - https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/4842/blp-managing-conversations-around-mental-health_v2.pdf


If you or someone you know is looking for ways to improve their mental health, ManHealth has numerous tools to support you, which can be found here - https://www.manhealth.org.uk/advice/


There are many other organisations that can help, such as:


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