The Shed

A shed that tours construction sites and destigmatises mental health in the workplace.

CONTEXT

Every year over​ 2.4 million workdays are lost through injury or illness in the construction industry. Stress, depression or anxiety account for a fifth of all work-related illness in this industry. A male construction worker is 3x more likely to commit suicide than the average UK male. In 2017, 454 construction workers took their own lives. making this industry the worst for suicide in the UK. With 2.4m construction workers in the UK and their friends and families, this issue affects tens of millions directly in the UK. The construction industry is increasingly providing support for workers who are suffering from their mental health, but the topic of mental health needs to be further destigmatized so that more people feel comfortable accessing this support or tackling problems before they get too big. This is where The Shed comes in.


WHAT IS THE SHED?

The Shed is a touring shed that contains tea making facilities, seating, and headphones that play short conversations with construction workers about mental health in the industry. People can engage with The Shed as much or little as they like. Every day, a new conversation is played on the headphones. Every time someone goes in, a number on a screen on the outside of the shed goes up, showing others that it’s OK to go in. The Shed also contains information about charities and organisations that support mental health in the construction industry. The Shed makes use of workers’ break time by offering tea making facilities and easily fits into the daily routine of employees. Just by being present on site, The Shed raises awareness and encourages conversation around mental health, even when not being used. The conversations played in The Shed are authentic and relatable, and sourced from a diverse range of construction workers.

BENEFITS OF THE SHED

Increases the use and value of existing resources such as Mental Health First Aiders.

Decreases risk of employee absence or low productivity through ill mental health.

Decreased risk of physical danger caused on site by ill mental health.

Improves brand identity for clients and employees.

Promotes existing organisations and initiatives promoting mental health in construction.

Below is a very early prototype made with a South West Creative Technology Network bursary, built at Kaleider. The completed shed will be larger and house a tea making facility, benches, solar panels, inbuilt seating and speaker system and exterior display screen.