One of the largest construction sites in the UK has hosted a Big Brew event to mark National Stress Awareness Day in November – making it the Biggest Brew that has ever been held… so far!

Bosses at the high-profile site in London – which typically has anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 operatives working on site at any one time – gave permission for the event to take place and invited teams from Hays and Band and Builders to host sessions throughout the day.

Gaelle Blake, the Director of the Construction and Property Division at Hays, and Gavin Crane and Tony Steel from Band of Builders gave a short presentation on the hour, every hour, talking about the mental health crisis in the construction industry.

As part of the presentation, they showed a short film that explained more about Band of Builders and the work the charity does in completing practical projects to help members of the UK construction industry and their families who are battling illness or injury. This then segued into how the Big Brew came about and how it has become an annual campaign to encourage UK construction industry workers and tradespeople to come together over a cuppa to support one another and remove the taboo around mental health.

The Big Brew typically follows the format of a charity coffee morning event, where a company or organisation will host one so that staff, visitors and customers can come together and talk about the issue of mental health during a builders’ tea break.

There were lots of Big Brews up and down the country this year to coincide with World Mental Health Day in October – which saw the likes of the charity’s partners and patrons, including Jewson and Talasey, holding them in their branches and offices.

The recently formed partnership with Hays – the construction recruitment specialist – has been the catalyst for introducing the Big Brew to a wider audience, including tier 1 contractors, who were happy to throw open their doors and encourage operatives to join in the conversation around mental health in construction.

Gaelle Blake said: “It was incredibly exciting to be able to continue to build our partnership with BoB by holding the biggest brew – meaning we could connect with thousands of workers in one go and spread the importance of looking after your mental health.

“The day was a further example of the brilliant work BOB are doing to raise awareness of the mental health challenges that exist amongst construction workers – and we hope to hold even bigger brews with them in the future!”

The trio of presenters also shared insights from the Big Brew helpline, such as:

30.4% of texts to the mental health helpline for construction workers are from tradespeople thinking about ending their own lives.

The suicide rate amongst construction workers has risen for the fifth year in a row.

Nearly half (44.2%) of builders and contractors using the text service do so during the working day.

Fridays are the busiest day of the week for service usage (with a share of 22.4%).

20.3% texted between midnight and 2am.

They also showed another short film that signposted the helpline service (text BoB to 85258), which is accessible for construction industry operatives and their family members who want to take that all-important first step in seeking help with their mental health.

Reflecting on the success of the Biggest Brew, Gavin and Tony said: “We cannot thank Hays enough for being the catalyst that has seen us take the Big Brew to the largest audience at one event on one day.”