Workplace mental health is an important issue, particularly to the construction industry which has one of the highest rates of suicide and work related mental health problems in Australia. That is why a new partnership between the Western Australian government and the University of Western Australia is so crucial.
The government has committed $500,000 to mental health efforts and the partnership with the University of Western Australia, who will develop assessment tools, training modules, educational materials and resources to promote mental health.
The money will also be used to implement the Western Australian Workplace Mental Health Standards.
The Mental Health Minister, Roger Cook explained the potential impact of workplaces on people’s mental health and why the initiative is so important.
“This funding will assist the Centre to better support organisations throughout WA address the health and wellbeing of their employees and create thriving workplaces.
“With one in five of us experiencing mental health issues in any given year and the many hours we spend at work, it is critical that workplaces know how to create environments that help their employees thrive.
“Creating thriving workplaces is good for employees, good for the wider community and can reduce the impact of lost productivity on business.” Mr Cook explained.
The new partnership between the Mental Health Commission and the university’s Centre for Transformative Work Design will involve design and improvements of evidence based activities and resources within the state-wide [email protected] Strategy, the university’s vice chancellor said.
“This partnership between the Western Australian Mental Health Commission and UWA will result in research that will have a real impact,” UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said.
“It is vital that the University’s research is focused on outcomes that improve society and impact positively on people’s lives and this is just one example of research making a difference.”
It’s important to keep in mind the importance of mentally healthy workplaces, not only the human impact but the impact on worker productivity. Family, social and financial pressures are usually to blame and the male-dominated “macho” culture of construction doesn’t typically promote speaking out.
Every year hundreds of construction workers die as a result of suicide and the rate of suicide is 82 per cent higher in the construction sector than it is in other industries.
Between 2001 and 2015, 469 construction workers died as a result of suicide in Western Australia according to Mates in Construction, which highlights just how important initiatives such as this are in the state.