World Mental Health Day

CIF Construction Safety Week 2022 is scheduled across the month of October beginning on Monday the 10th on World Mental Health Day. The focus this year is on supporting the Lighthouse Club’s Help Inside a Hard Hat campaign.

To kick things off for Construction Safety Week, McKeon Group marked World Mental Health Day 2022 with a catch-up in DCU. We currently have several projects underway in DCU, so most of our site-based staff are based there, so it was the perfect location for us to all gather. This catch-up aimed to highlight that it’s not just about talking but listening too – if someone starts to open up, the best thing you can do is listen – no one needs to have the solutions, just being an ear can help.

We started the day by grabbing a coffee and some breakfast in DCU’s main restaurant, followed by a coffee-style chat in one of their lecture theatres. It was a lovely opportunity to take a couple of hours out to focus and regroup before the work week began.

Ruan Kennedy, Chartered C. Psychol.PsSI, Certified Sensorimotor Psychotherapist and Senior Counsellor at Dublin City University, kindly joined us to give us a little insight into stress management and provided us with great exercises on how to manage our stress levels.

We finished up with a little gift from the company of a mindfulness colouring book and some colouring pencils along with information about our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

Help Inside the Hard Hat

The Help Inside the Hard Hat campaign, aims to raise awareness of poor mental health within our industry. In the UK and Ireland, two construction workers take their own lives every working day. As well as this, stress, anxiety and depression account for a fifth of all work-related illnesses.

This campaign is providing a huge range of proactive support and resources for our construction community including a 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline, a free app and mental health training.

Mental Health

Mental health covers a wide range of issues, including mild or moderate anxiety and stress, drug and alcohol abuse and disorders such as severe depression and schizophrenia. However, workers’ mental health and well-being also relate to their general mental and emotional health and their ability to cope with the normal stresses of life.

According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 18.5% of the Irish population has a mental health disorder. This places Ireland 3rd highest in Europe (after Finland and the Netherlands) in the estimated prevalence of a mental health issue.


There is a need for a supportive infrastructure within the sector, given the larger proportion of men in the workforce and the traditional beliefs amongst Irish men to avoid seeking psychological support for mental health issues. In recognition of the importance of mental well-being in the construction sector, the CIF conducted research with employers to explore their experiences of managing staff and the key issues they face concerning mental health.

Companies across Ireland overwhelmingly accepted that mental health is a pressing issue in the construction industry, with 98% of employers agreeing that it has important health implications.

The issue of managing staff mental health is no doubt made more difficult by some employees who may be unwilling or uncomfortable with reporting mental health difficulties. Interestingly, 68% of companies believe the construction sector has a serious issue with staff underreporting issues with their mental health in the workplace.

McKeon Group Health and Safety Manager Veronica Lavelle said: “It’s good to talk but also so important to listen if someone opens up. You don’t need the answers or solution, just being there to listen is a big help.”

Learn More About the Lighthouse Club

The Lighthouse Club is the only charity that provides physical, mental, and financial well-being support to construction workers and their families in Ireland & the UK.

Whether you’re an employer or an employee, the helpline provides the first point of contact for those who need to access a range of completely confidential support services.


Social Value and Community Wellbeing

Through innovating the built environment

Earlier this week, the Construction Sector Group, or CSG, for ‘Innovation and Digital Adoption’ published its Sustainability Consultation Group Report.  The scope of the report was to outline the key research areas for disruptive and scalable innovation in sustainability, carbon reduction and climate action across Ireland’s construction industry, with a focus on supporting increased construction activity. In the course of research, 100 of the industry’s key stakeholders were surveyed under the themes of Decarbonisation, Circular Built Environment, Climate Change Resilience, and Social Value & Community Wellbeing. The outcome of this survey influenced the initial proposals for research and innovation projects.


Given Ireland’s current housing crisis and the persistent societal challenges faced, a key area of focus for the CSG is built environment innovation that will ensure social value and  community wellbeing. Initial proposals aim to protect human health and wellbeing, while  supporting local economies and increasing community engagement.


Under this theme, the majority of people surveyed believe that smart mobility and multifunctional or adaptable streets are the most important innovation required. The financial value of vegetation, placemaking and urban design was also seen as a key priority, along with the digital mapping of air pollution, identification of sources and mitigation initiatives.


Specific proposals for research and innovation include social and environmental post-occupancy evaluation methodology for public buildings and projects. This entails researching suitable POE methodologies that will capture the social and environmental performance of all public buildings and projects, both existing and newly built assets. It is intended that the data be collated and used as ‘lessons learned’ for future projects. Currently, POE in public buildings is only conducted for operational energy. According to the report, there is a need to put in place a system for capturing the in-use performance of these projects and their contribution to community health and well-being, in the context of Ireland 2040 and Housing for All ambitions.


Another specific proposal involves researching successful models for community driven planning processes. This will involve a review of local and international best practice examples of community driven planning processes and then the possible creation of digital tools for better communication and participation, and for implementation of a plan for enhanced community participation with local authorities. It was acknowledged by the report that digitalisation opens up an opportunity for greater community engagement in planning, with many international cities now using digital models to test scenarios and proposed developments with input from residents.


Encouraging biodiversity across the built environment is another proposed area of research and innovation. This might involve the introduction of a ‘green area ratio’ for proposed developments. A health/cost benefit analysis of increased biodiversity in Irish towns and cities is encouraged. The report concludes that introducing a green area ratio requirement into Irish planning would encourage healthier and more resilient communities.


We look forward to seeing how these important industry research projects progress and to contributing through our in-house Innovation Boost team.




About McKeon Group:

Established in 1950, this year marks the 70th anniversary of McKeon Group, which remains a family business. ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fitout and building services. The Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact


McKeon Group: Building Resilience

Earlier this week, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) hosted a webinar to help launch a free and confidential, 24/7, helpline dedicated to supporting members of the construction industry, you can read more about this here:


The Lighthouse Club


Developed by the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, this helpline and supporting wellbeing app aims to help construction workers cope with the extraordinary challenges brought about by the global pandemic. There is wide acknowledgement and a growing understanding of the negative impacts the past few months have had on mental health for all members of society, and this is particularly true for those working within the construction industry.


Speaking about the launch of this vital service, Lighthouse CEO, Bill Hill explained:


“One of the charity’s key objectives is to reduce suicides of those working in the construction sector. The 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline delivers an EAP to all workers and is complimented by an supporting helpline app. This App is available on both Android and Apple devices and is packed full of information, advice and guidance on mental, physical and financial wellbeing matters.  By making all the services free and confidential, the charity aims to remove two of the key barriers to people seeking help. The final barrier to overcome is the stigma of using such services often inherent in stoic masculine belief.”


For many, the impact of the crash more than a decade ago is still deeply felt. People tend to recover at a slower pace than the economy and the very real trauma experienced back then is still quite raw. There was a period of recovery before the pandemic situation unfolded and cast fresh doubt and concern over the livelihoods of 150,000 people. Irish construction is renowned for its resilience but, the truth is, any industry is simply a collection of people and maintaining a state of resilience for your employees or employer, for your teammates and work colleagues, for your family and loved ones, can take a toil. There needs to be some sense of relief and hope that things can and will improve. And it needs to be okay not to be okay, help is available.


It is great to see the CIF promoting such a service to its members and to the wider industry. Over the past few years, positive mental health has featured heavily in the annual Health & Safety Week line-up, bringing forward a whole new conversation about wellbeing.


McKeon Group Table Quiz



Earlier this year, prior to lockdown restrictions, McKeon Group hosted a staff table quiz. €600 was raised by our team on the night and the company matched that sum, bringing the total donation to €1,200. We were proud to hand over that donation to the Ashbourne Suicide Awareness and Prevention (ASAP) charity. The organisation provides critical support to the local community here in Ashbourne and, like most people living and working in the area, we are grateful for the dedicated services provided and keen to support ASAP.


About McKeon Group:

Established in 1950, this year marks the 70th anniversary of McKeon Group, which remains a family business. ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fitout and building services. The Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact: