MATES Stronger Together
MATES in Construction is running an awareness campaign across Queensland and Northern Territory to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and suicide prevention on construction worksites. The campaign includes billboards around the state and territory (12 in total) supported by a poster and social media campaign. The campaign focuses on non-metropolitan Queensland and Darwin.
MATES in Construction started in Queensland 11 years ago. Since then we have reached more than 70,000 construction workers out of the State’s more than 200,000 workers. Despite suicide rates and relative risk of suicide falling amongst Queensland construction workers, we still lose more than 40 workers to suicide each year and it is estimated that around 100 will be lost to the industry following permanent injury from a suicide attempt. This represents a lot of pain and suffering.
MATES in Construction believe that suicide prevention is everybody’s business and that prevention in the workplace is one of many venues where there are opportunities to prevent suicide. We often spend more time awake at work than outside work, so workmates have a chance to notice when a mate is struggling and offer help.
MATES in Construction Qld/NT CEO said: “As men we often feel we have to fix things when they are broken. It is not so easy when you feel your life is broken and you can’t fix it. It can be very difficult to ask for help, and most often we do not. If your workmates can pick up that you are struggling and offer help instead, we have a real shot at making a difference.”
“If we really believe that suicide prevention is everybody’s business, then we all need to do our share – the health system, the social system, the community, the workplace, workers, employers, Unions and employer associations.” Mr Gullestrup said. MATES in Construction was started by Unions and Employer associations through the Building Employees Redundancy Trust as a bi-partisan initiative to pull the industry together around suicide prevention
Thousands of workers have stepped up by becoming MATES in Construction volunteer Connectors and ASIST workers on site. A Connector is a MATE who can keep you safe while connecting you to help and every day Connectors are connecting their workmates to support and help through MATES case management and 24/7 support line. Lives are saved!
Every day building sites across the State and Australia is stepping up allowing the rollout of the program on their site. A MATES in Construction site will train all workers on site in the one-hour General Awareness Program. Volunteers are then trained for four hours as connectors (we seek 1 in 20 trained as Connectors) and a few key workers may be trained in ASIST intervention skills training.
Most recently MATES in Construction with the support of beyondblue launched the Australian Building and Construction Industry Blueprint for better mental health and suicide prevention as a guide for employers who want to be more proactive in providing a mentally healthier workplace. For more information: https://www.constructionblueprint.com.au/
MATES in Construction is available at no cost to both employers and workers within the building and construction industry. The current awareness campaign was made possible through support from the Building Employees Redundancy Trust, the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations, the Northern Territory Government Department of Health, the NT PHN and Construction Skills Queensland.