Lighthouse Club and West Nottinghamshire College shine a light on mental health  

16th March 2022

Over 100 students at the Kirkby-in-Ashfield-based construction campus recently welcomed Andy Bishop, a Lighthouse Club Ambassador from the Lighthouse Club to hear about the important work being done in the construction industry to promote better mental health and wellbeing.

Andy addressed the pre-conceptions that men don’t get depressed, particularly in the male dominated construction industry. His presentation looked at the general stigma which is attached to mental health in men and that talking to friends or colleagues is a good starting point to addressing the signs of depression. Students were involved in a question and answer session about how people can support one another and how to recognise signs of mood or habit changes which could indicate depression.

 Andy was also able to share his own personal battle with mental health, beginning when he was serving as a soldier in the army and how he had bottled-up his depression until he had a breakdown. During his time serving in the armed forces he was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder.

Sarah Bolton, Director of Charitable Services for the charity said, “Working with the colleges gives us a fantastic opportunity to reach out to those who are about to embark on a career in construction. We want to be able to give people the confidence to talk openly about issues affecting them or their peers. We’re working hard to ensure that there are a variety of ways that people can reach out for support, depending on what they feel most comfortable with. We provide a 24/7 construction industry telephone helpline which provides a range of free and confidential support. This is complemented by our free Self Support App and our recently introduced text HARDHAT to 85258 service. We also have our Lighthouse Beacons who offer a safe space for people to share concerns. “.

Plastering student Fatos Ramaj, 42, from Nottingham, said: “It’s very important to take what Andy has spoken about on board. I would always be open to helping someone needing support either at college or in the workplace. It’s very important for people to have someone to talk to and not feel like they have to hide their feelings.”

The charity will be engaging with the college on a rolling basis, offering mental health awareness and bespoke support plans for ‘at risk’ groups under the organisation’s Changing Future Cultures project.

Vicky Swallow, early intervention co-ordinator for the college’s welfare team, said: “The Lighthouse Club are an amazing organisation dedicated to spreading awareness for mental health support in the construction industry. It’s incredibly important to us to give opportunities like this to our students to gain a better understanding of mental health but also to try to remove the stigma around conversations about mental health.

“I hope that Andy’s personal story and his sessions open more conversations amongst staff and students alike, encouraging us all to check in with each other and choose kindness.  For more information about all the resources and support available visit

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