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Engineering sector ‘facing mental health emergency’

A fifth have considered suicide or self-harm

One in five engineers have lost a work colleague to suicide and over a fifth (22.5%) have considered suicide or self-harm, a report reveals.

The research, published today by inclusion consultancy EqualEngineers, shows male engineers are 3.5 times more likely to say they have considered suicide or self-harm. 

EqualEngineers said the findings show the dangerous effect that the lack of inclusion and support for mental health is having in the sector. 

The poll found over a third (37.2%) of engineers would describe their mental health as fair or poor, and over a fifth have had to take time off work because of it.

Less than a third of engineers believe the culture they work in is diverse (32.3%) or feel included in it

Both genders agreed that men are under pressure to behave in certain ways and that society’s expectations of men can be unrealistic.

Mark McBride-Wright, founder and managing director of EqualEngineers, said engineering is a traditionally male, white dominated sector and it can be very lonely if someone feels even a little bit different to the supposed norm.

“Not being able to be open about who you are, because of attitudes and lack of diversity around you can lead to mental health issues and decreased wellbeing,” he warned. “We need to create a culture where men can be vulnerable, and can understand their own diversity story. We do not have this in our male-majority industry, and we need to work to bring down the psychological barriers preventing it.”

The report makes recommendations for the sector, including increased parity between the importance physical safety and good mental health and modelling flexible working at senior level.