Hamilton Architects have signed a pledge in support of measures to promote positive mental health among young architectural technologists.
CIAT, the professional body for architectural technologists, are working with David Comiskey of Ulster University to encourage good practice among employers, industry professional, academics and students.
David, a member of CIAT and Senior Lecturer at The Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment, has produced a report called Changing Attitudes Towards the Mental Wellbeing of Early Career Architectural Technology Professionals.
He said the report aimed to help fill the void around the mental needs of early career architectural technologists, to provide advice to employers on how to broach the subject of mental wellbeing, and to promote conversations around happier workplaces.
“The graduates of today are of a generation which have a high potential for mental health issues – especially true in the architecture subject area – and are entering an industry with a poor track record when it comes to mental wellbeing,” he said.
However, he added, this did not mean young professionals should be treated differently when they come into practice, but rather that workplaces should be mental health-aware and provide a supportive culture for people suffering personal challenges.
Eddie Weir, President of CIAT, commented: “Mental health issues are not new and many of us will be affected at some point in our lives and careers. We need to spread the message that no one is alone and to raise awareness of the help that is available.”
Hamilton Architects member of staff Jill Alexander is on the CIAT NI Committee. She welcomed the report and the guidance it provides in demystifying perceptions around mental wellbeing.
“It is a serious issue,” she said. “National surveys have shown that as many as 1 in three students and young professionals face challenges around a serious personal, emotional, behavioural or mental health issue.
“Employers in our sector can play their part by making small changes in the working environment which promote good mental health and by reducing the stigma around mental ill-health, so people feel able to come forward for help.”
Practices can sign up here