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Spot the Signs: James’ Interview

In our last interview segment, we are delighted to introduce James, an esteemed member of the Rockthorn Ltd team. From the very inception of this campaign, James expressed his desire to participate, highlighting his dedication to the cause.

In his video, James shared the personal challenges he has confronted and provided firsthand insights into the industry. James has a wealth of over 10 years of experience spanning various job roles within the industry, and throughout the interview, he generously elaborated on these experiences.

What is your job role? 

I’m the new Hire Desk Operations Manager for Rockthorn Ltd.

Can you tell me about a challenging experience you’ve faced with mental ill health?

Having worked within the industry for just over 10 years, I’ve seen the frustration from both colleagues and clients. 

It’s an industry that is 24/7 and there’s never a day that goes by without something going on. Due to the time constraints, the amount of pressure for those individuals to get the job done has had a massive effect. 

It’s not always said out loud but you can notice people just never putting down tools or stepping away from the phone due to the demand on themselves to do the best they can. You do notice some don’t take even 5-10 minutes just to step away and give themselves a break out of fear of falling behind, letting their team down and more importantly themselves. 

The mental side isn’t always the easiest to spot but tends to be mannerisms, like someone who is normally quite talkative and smiling out loud suddenly being reserved with one-word answers and occasionally grinning. Or their pace of work being different and losing focus. I’ve also experienced colleagues who I’ve become friends with suddenly break down and express that their personal life has been affected or is affecting their work life and fear they may lose what they have.

How would you like to see things change in the industry to raise more awareness for those struggling with their mental health? 

I’ve noticed more so since the pandemic and just before, that there have been people receiving training to deal with mental health, with titles of Mental Health Support Offices or Mental Health First Aiders. 

However, I’ve noticed this across a lot of senior or middle management within the industry. I think this would be more beneficial to be implemented across all different roles on different levels. More often than not, those who are struggling find it hard to go to their managers or directors to talk about their issues due to confidence and/or feeling they’ll be looked upon in a negative way. This can be implemented to help assist those on the same level, doing the same day-to-day work and having a better understanding and relationship. 

I also think having management/supervisors going around during lunch breaks or small breaks to ensure their teams do take regular breaks. Even having a quick 2-5 minute chat about how they’re doing and giving positive feedback or a compliment to encourage/improve their day can have an effect. Even if it’s a small amount. 

Depending on how people/persons are with physical interaction, always asking to offer a handshake each day or a pat on the back or fist bump as well as positive compliments/encouragement to help strengthen the relationship and trust that they’re valued and cared for.

Why do you think this campaign is so important? 

I still to this day suffer from anxiety and depression, having gone through on-and-off visits with GPs, counsellors and therapists over 10 years. Within the past year making great progress and changes in my day-to-day working and social life, I’d want to encourage the same with as many people as I can. To break the stigma that suffering from any mental health issues, no matter how small, that it’s OK to speak out.

For me, I’ve only recently found that having to put on the persona of someone who is always having to be tough, brave and never letting anything bother them to fit the stereotype that still exists, doesn’t mean you can’t speak out loud. If anything, you’re even more tough and brave for being open about those issues. Seeking help to be naturally happy compared to who they pretend to be and always seeking to improve on that hidden goal.

To watch James in his accompanying video head over to our Instagram and LinkedIn pages. James concludes our ‘Spot the Signs’ video campaign for now. We hope that through these videos and interview blogs, we have helped spread the word that mental health in the construction industry needs more attention. The campaign’s objectives remain ongoing, if you’ve seen our campaign and would like to get involved please reach out via