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Tag: Mates in Construction

Take Mental Health Seriously, Firms Urged


In comparison to the general population, construction industry workers are more than twice as likely to commit suicide, according to research from Mates in Construction and consulting firm PWC.

Mates in Construction is an organisation working to train and assist employers to manage mental health issues among employees. Using research from Mates in Construction, Milton Walters, VP of Marketing APAC at Procore described several factors which he says may lie behind the high suicide rates across the sector,

Courtesy largely of the male-dominated nature of the industry, a masculine culture has resulted in images of a tough and hard worker and discouragement for those who experience anxiety or struggles from raising issues openly. The project by project nature of the work can lead to a lack of consistency and routine which provides generates a sense of instability (and financial insecurity). This also exposes workers to constant changes in work crews and inhibits their ability to formulate close working relationships.


Other studies have revealed similar findings, including one by researchers at Deakin University this year which found that construction worker suicides can be classified under 3 wider categories.

First, the overarching economic structure of the industry fuels work-related stress factors including transient working conditions and a lack of secure employment as well as debt related stressors and pressure at work. Many of those in the study also experience personal stresses such as legal issues, family breakdown or substance abuse and/or mental health issues. Finally, the researchers echoed Walter’s view on the masculine nature of the work environment and associated stigma associated with mental health issues or reaching out for help.


While there are a number of organisations improving awareness, education and support, there needs to be action on several fronts, Walters says.

One of the solutions he says is individual employers offering services to their teams such as employee assistance programs or training around mental health at the beginning of a new project.

It is vitally important to increase awareness about signs that a colleague may be experiencing mental health problems and how to take action.

He also highlighted the importance of open and honest communication and opening up discussion in the industry, he explained,

“It’s time for the construction industry to ensure that mental illness is something that can be talked about openly,” Walters said. “There needs to be an open conversation to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

“Workers need to know that they are able to talk about their experiences without feeling isolated, ashamed or frightened – and it’s up to the industry to open up this discussion.”


WA Government Funds Suicide Prevention Initiative for Construction

The Western Australian Government has committed to providing $310,000 in funding to raise mental health awareness among construction workers and FIFO workers, the group identified as the most at risk of suicide in the population

Mental Health Minister Roger Cook said the funding would allow MATES in Construction WA to address issues of mental health and suicide in the building and construction industry and among FIFO workers.

MATES in Construction is a charity organisation that works to reduce suicide in the construction industry.

Sadly construction workers are more likely to attempt suicide than any other sector of the population and each year an average of 190 construction workers die from suicide. Construction workers are 6 times more likely to die from suicide than other work related incidents.

Funding will go towards providing support and assistance to individuals and families affected by suicide in the construction industry including on FIFO work sites across WA. It will also go towards educating construction workers educating workers on mental health and well being.

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Construction Worker Suicide Prevention Organisation Gets Funding Boost


The Queensland Government has funded Mates in Construction over the next one and a half years.

The organisation works to reduce the alarmingly high suicide rate in the construction industry.

The government funding with help expand the organisation’s positive program.

The government has pledged $1million to reduce suicide in the construction industry, a problem that plagues young men in particular.

Young tradesmen, it has been revealed, have a suicide rate 2 to 3 times higher than the general community. The average age of suicide among construction workers in Queensland is 36.


“Mates in Construction” Campaign Targets Suicide in Construction

I recently discovered a new suicide prevention program for South Australian construction workers which an article on the website reported on.

The program was a long time coming, especially considering that building industry workers in the state are 10 times more likely to die from suicide than construction site accidents and work related injuries.

The program entitled “Mates in Construction” is an adaptation of a program already implemented in Queensland in 2008. The Queensland program was so successful that it is hoped the program will enjoy similar success in SA. The Queensland program resulted in the successful intervention in 47 cases so far.

The Mates in Construction training helps workers to identify when one of their colleagues is experiencing difficulty and thinking about suicide. In Queensland it was discovered that half of those who had committed suicide in the industry had spoken to someone beforehand and a quarter of them had previously attempted suicide, this was what prompted the implementation of the program in Queensland and now in South Australia.

According to authorities there is evidence to support the social validity and effectiveness of the Mates in Construction program for improving suicide and mental health awareness, help-seeking behaviour and treatment engagement thereby reducing the suicide risk for construction workers in Queensland.

Some of the factors that contribute to high suicide rates in the state (and in fact in the construction industry throughout Oz) include longer working hours, less job security, financial problems, relationship issues and a culture of drinking as well as the masculine nature of construction work which often leads to a lack of communication about emotional issues among workers.

Some of the SA companies that have already signed up with the program include Baulderstone, Leighton, Laing O’Rourke, WATPAC and Lend Lease.

Read what a report on had to say about the new program:

mic-header-logoSouth Australia is poised to launch a new suicide prevention program in the state that is designed to reduce deaths amongst construction workers – the current figure is six times higher than the overall national average for men.

The program ‘Mates in Construction’ is an adaption of a Queensland program that has been able to ‘intervene’ in 47 attempts at suicide since it began in 2008.

Michelle Brown the state Chief Executive said that this program trains workers to be able to recognise the warning signs and help their fellow workers by connecting them to the experts that can help.

She said that the construction industry is typically male dominated with a culture of not talking about feelings, but also workers hours are generally longer, rates of drinking are higher and there is less job security.

Ms Brown said that these factors alone or combined could potentially lead to relationship and financial problems, which are two of the suicide risk factors.

Read more:

Mates in Construction can be contacted at their support service: 1300 642 111.