Mental Health Crisis Is Hitting the Engineering Sector Hard

"One in five engineers have lost a work colleague to suicide," a new report reveals.

You most likely know someone who works in the engineering field or are an engineer yourself.

But did you know that over a fifth (22.5%) of engineers have thought of committing suicide or thought of self-harming and that men are 3.5 times more likely to have said this? These are staggering numbers, especially in a sector that is so huge.

British inclusion consultancy, EqualEngineers, published a full report today, with their findings on the pressing issue of mental health in this sector. 

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What did the survey say?

The EqualEngineers survey found that one in five engineers have lost a work colleague to suicide. 

Mental Health Crisis Is Hitting the Engineering Sector Hard
Masculinity in Engineering. Source: EqualEngineers/Twitter

The report, named Masculinity in Engineering survey, surveyed over 800 engineers across the U.K. One of the persons in the report stated: "Masculinity is a prison and a prize, strictly required of men but still more heavily penalised in women." 

What EqualEngineers discovered through their survey was that there is a significant lack of support for mental health in the sector. Furthermore, as the field is still dominated by men, especially Caucasian men, there is a huge lack of inclusion. 

Mental Health Crisis Is Hitting the Engineering Sector Hard
Masculinity in Engineering. Source: EqualEngineers/Twitter

Some of the key findings that the survey reported were as follows: 

  • 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 (31.2%).
  • Both genders agree overwhelmingly that men are under pressure to behave in certain ways, and that society’s expectations of men can be unrealistic.

The Founder and Managing Director of EqualEngineers, Mark McBride-Wright, said, "Engineering is a traditionally male, white dominated sector. It can be very lonely, if you feel even a little bit ‘different’ to the supposed 'norm.'"

Mental Health Crisis Is Hitting the Engineering Sector Hard
Masculinity in Engineering. Source: EqualEngineers/Twitter

Something needs to be changed, and the faster, the better. 

McBride-Wright continued, "The Masculinity in Engineering Report shows that inclusivity in the workplace is a health and safety issue. 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."

Mental Health Crisis Is Hitting the Engineering Sector Hard
Masculinity in Engineering. Source: EqualEngineers/Twitter

"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," finished McBride-Wright. 

This is an issue that goes even further than the engineering sector. But what this report has demonstrated is that one of the most prevalent fields of work needs to make some big shifts.

Mental Health Crisis Is Hitting the Engineering Sector Hard
Masculinity in Engineering. Source: EqualEngineers/Twitter

As per the report, "Men must be emboldened to be able to proudly define their own masculinity, and be reconciled with the idea that masculinity in itself is not negative at all, but that it is specific traits and behaviours, associated with a toxic, hyper-competitive, macho culture that must disappear to make way for healthy, diverse and inclusive work environments for all."

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