Construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work. For young workers, the facts are that they are well over two times more likely to take their own lives than other young Australian men.
MATES in Construction, Mining and Energy deliver strategic, innovative, evidence-based suicide prevention and mental health programs to the building, mining, energy and construction industries. This is done by raising awareness, building capacity, connecting workers to help and providing evidence-based information to the industry through research.
Research has shown that workers find it difficult to discuss feelings and emotions with colleagues at work, and the nature of the work has made social support more difficult.
MATES in Construction CEO, NSW, Brad Parker said some of the cryptic signs of suicide discussed during training are relatable.
“Stories like the project manager who asked his colleagues if they wanted his golf clubs as he didn’t need them anymore, he later suicided, or the construction worker who played cards with workmates every lunch time in the crib shed. He stopped playing cards, had lunch on his own in his car and three days later he suicided.
“We remind people and workers in our industry that they spend more time at work with their workmates than they spend with their loved ones, family or friends, so we think you’re best placed to pick up changes, call it out and then connect people to help. MATES HELPING MATES is real and tangible, it’s not a throw away statement,” said Parker.
“Pride” is identified as an issue: male workers have a problem with not being viewed as “manly”. Participants of the research held a strong belief that suicide was an impulsive act and that someone intending to take their own life would show no signs and not discuss it.
MATES is focused on raising awareness though effective and direct communication with all levels of the industry through newsletters; general awareness; Connector and ASIST worker networks.
MATES events and Tool-Box talks.
Programs are designed to actively engage the industry in sustainable programs such as the Life Skills Tool Box and MATES programs including General Awareness Training, Connector and ASIST courses.
Case Management that connects workers to help by using existing services, ensuring that help is both practical and useful.
Gathering data and partnering with research institutions to provide useful, insightful and practical information for application in the industry, under guidance of the MATES in Construction Board.
MATES in Construction is an independent charity and anyone wanting to support the MATES Industry Partnership Program can contact Greg Johnston on (07) 3063 7055. Website: https://mates.org.au/how-mates-works
If you or anyone you know needs help:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
MATES in Construction: 1300 642 111