Tarmac has partnered with Mates in Mind, a leading UK charity raising awareness and understanding of, and removing the stigma surrounding mental health in the construction industry and related sectors, to launch a festive film with an important message – if you’re not ok, you’re not alone.
The short film, which is being shared across Tarmac’s social media channels and across the business internally to reinforce messaging about mental wellbeing, aims to highlight that if someone isn’t quite feeling themselves, they don’t need to face challenges alone.
This time of year can be particularly difficult for some, with research showing that a quarter of people say that Christmas makes their mental health worse. In the construction industry, poor mental health is also more prevalent – with a third of workers living with severe levels of anxiety, according to Mates in Mind.
The film titled ‘The most wonderful time of the year?’ was created at Tarmac’s Pershore asphalt plant in Worcestershire, with employees from the site starring in the film alongside actor Chris Edgerley, who plays a construction worker going through a challenging time.
Told through a single narrative, the film follows the colleague through their working day as they struggle to open up about their problems. There is no dialogue from the worker for the majority of the video, until he confesses “I don’t think I’m ok”, to which his manager responds, to say he is there for him, offering to sit down and have a chat. The film demonstrates how stepping in and asking if someone is ok can open up the conversation for a person who may be experiencing challenges in their life.
Peter Hember, site manager at Tarmac’s Pershore plant, said: “The message behind the film is so important. I’m old enough to remember when people didn’t talk about their problems, whether this be mental health-related, money struggles or family issues, you were just expected to get on with it. Things are so much better now.
“Problems like these can be made even worse at this time of the year, so this type of campaign is incredibly important – it’s a great thing for Tarmac to do.”
Phil Bason, health manager at Tarmac, said: “We’re proud to have partnered with Mates in Mind on this film. The charity does so much to provide support and advice to those across the industry who may not be feeling themselves. This is a delicate subject matter which we wanted to tackle in a way which conveys that no matter what someone might be facing, they’re not alone and there is support out there.
Phil went on to say: “If you ask someone if they’re ok, the usual response is “Yeah, I’m fine thanks”, which is what we see in the video when a fellow colleague stops our main character from accidentally stepping in front of a truck. So you might have to ask again to get the real answer. It’s about giving someone the opportunity to tell you how they’re really feeling.
“It’s important to note that it won’t always be obvious if someone is struggling. Sometimes, it can be the people with the biggest smiles on their faces who are suffering the most – people can become very good at masking their true feelings. Each situation is different, and we need to make sure we keep talking and looking out for each other.”
Sarah Meek, managing director at Mates in Mind, said: “We were honoured when Tarmac told us that they were making this film which helps to convey some key messages about mental health. The film demonstrates the importance of learning how to spot the signs of stress, anxiety, and depression not only in yourself but also in your colleagues, friends and family members. Also, to remember to always ask twice if you are concerned whether someone is ok in addition to feeling confident in how to start the conversation and when to signpost to further support.
“We know how a holistic prevention strategy, which empowers employees across the whole workforce with the guidance, skills, resources, and competence to change their workplace culture and to identify and address contributory risks, can ensure that no one reaches crisis point and mental health awareness becomes everyone’s issue.”
The actor Chris Edgerley plays the lead protagonist in the film. Chris has just finished a run in the tour of stage musical The Bodyguard, which starred X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, while his television work includes appearances in Emmerdale and the popular ITV show Hi-5.
The most wonderful time of the year? will be shared across the Tarmac social channels from today (Thursday 7 December) through to the end of the year.
For more information on Mates in Mind and the support available: www.matesinmind.org/
If you’ve reached a crisis point and need someone to talk to, there are additional resources available over the festive season – with trained professionals on hand: www.tarmac.com/find-support
View the film here: