The Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS) is shining a light on the issue of mental health in the industry by challenging people to open up about the unspoken struggles being faced by many.
Chief Executive of DGCOS, Faisal Hussain, explained why the organisation is asking everyone to take a few minutes to participate in an upcoming Fenestration Industry Mental Health Survey.
“Mental health is a much under talked about subject. It’s a topic I’ve thought about for a while, but it was really brought home to me following a frank and open conversation I had with an installer just before Christmas. He runs a respectable, quality installation business with several fitting teams doing about 10 to 20 jobs a month.
“After congratulating him on what was an apparently commercially successful year thanks to the massive home improvement boom, the reply was very different from what I expected.
“Rather than the positive conversation about sales and profit growth I thought we were going to have, he stopped short and simply said ‘I’ve had enough Faisal’.
“The long and short is that he was exhausted from back to back jobs; negotiating delayed lead times with insistent customers; juggling admin, sales and credit control from consumers who owed him significant monies for high value completed jobs; and the fact that some days he struggles to walk due a bad back that he’s had no time to visit the doctors for.
“This dismal picture got me thinking about how many others in the industry were feeling the same and most importantly, what is the price we’re paying in terms of our mental health?
“While this story is anecdotal, it is sadly backed up by statistics and what is really concerning is, when you apply these statistics to the demographics of our sector, which mainly consists of men.
“According to MIND, Men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK driven by society’s expectations and the traditional gender roles where men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their mental health problems. This may sound stereotypical but it’s a fact.
“The third Monday of January has been dubbed ‘Blue Monday’, claimed to be the time when people feel most down every year.
“Whether you think it’s a marketing gimmick or not, at least it hit the headlines and got a conversation going about mental health.
“In fact, it prompted DGCOS to put our money where our mouth is on this issue, and for every installation that was registered on our online portal on ‘Blue Monday’, we donated £1 to mental health charity MIND.
“And to further this conversation, DGCOS will be launching a Fenestration Industry Mental Health Survey over the coming weeks. We will be asking for everyone to take a few minutes to contribute and hopefully together, create a brighter future.
“DGCOS is never afraid to talk about the issues that others steer clear of or to confront head on the real challenges faced by our industry. We will never hold back if it means drawing attention to them in a positive, constructive way that can help create change for the better.”