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Tag: Mental Health

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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Why Workers Stay Off Work So Much

According to a new report, as many as one in five Australians have stayed away from work in the past 12 months due to stress, depression or mental illness.

A report by BeyondBlue called the State of Workplace Health in Australia, found there was a disconnect between management and the workforce on the treatment of mental wellbeing and how it was being promoted in the organisation.

The report questioned more than 1000 participants across Australia and found that a staggering 71 per cent of leaders believed they were committed to promoting staff mental health and only 37 per cent of employees agreed with this.

The biggest culprits were long working hours and an inadequate work/life balance.

Although mental health is not an issue often discussed in the construction industry, this report proves the importance of making it a priority.



Talking About Mental Health

Talking about mental health with workers is just one of the steps to being proactive about psychological health and avoiding psychological injury among construction workers.

This is an important issue, given that Safe Work Australia found mental health carried a cost to the economy of $8billion annually, and it seems the crisis is worsening.

In fact according to a study by Minter Ellison, 56% of local organisations have experienced a year-on-year increase in the number of workplace claims related to mental health. Depression and anxiety are the most common problems being reported nation-wide, with stress and bullying costing $693 million.


Suicide Prevention Focus for Qld Construction Industry

sleeping worker

MATES in Construction have partnered with the Queensland Government to offer additional support to construction workers with mental health issues.

MATES in construction are a suicide prevention organisation who have teamed up with the state government to help workers in need.

The aim of the program is mates looking out for mates, CEO Jorgen Gullestrup said. Everyone on the construction site can look out for and help each other. So if we notice someone struggling, we can help, before its too late.

Mr Gullestrup noted that the Queensland construction industry used to have the highest suicide rates in the country but through a network of 4500 volunteers, thousands of workers have been helped.


How to Find and Keep Talent in the Queensland Construction Sector

construction workers

In a recent article on a construction website, the issue of construction staff retention was raised. This is obviously a pertinent issue, especially within the Queensland construction industry, as the article highlighted.

Attracting and retaining the best staff is a challenging but crucial issue for any construction business.

According to the article one surprising factor may have a greater influence on staff attraction and retention than we realise and that factor is mental health.

Each year there are about 190 suicides in the construction industry, according to Mates in Construction, and this equates to more than 30 per cent of the industry.

Construction workers are 6 times more likely to die from suicide than a workplace accident, so addressing mental health is key.

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Employment Minister Tackles Suicide in the Construction Field


MATES in Construction and R U OK recently held a joint initiative at a Brisbane construction site for Fly the Flag Day, attended by Employment and Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace to raise awareness about suicide among construction workers.

Ms Grace explained that suicide among Australian construction workers is too high and in Queensland the problem is particularly alarming with 25 per cent higher than the suicide rate for the rest of the state’s population.

Construction workers are encouraged to ask their mates the question, “R U OK?” and if they need help themselves, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask.

On the day, 170 Queensland construction sites supported suicide prevention activities around the state. Read more at

Research Shows Workers Are Suffering In Silence

construction worker

Research reveals that workers are suffering from mental illness in silence because of fears about damage to job prospects and lack of understanding from others.

The majority of workers have a fear of speaking up about their mental health issues.

As many as one in five workers experience mental health problems, but due to fears about damage to job prospects, not getting support and lack of understanding from managers most workers are afraid to tell anyone.

Although the research was based on a UK study, Australian campaigners say the research reflects similar challenges here.

Visit for an interactive guide on the pros and cons of disclosing your individual mental health issues.

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How To Tell If Your Workplace Needs To Address Mental Health

construction worker

As employers its important to address workers’ mental health as much as their physical health and safety, sadly this is an often neglected issue in the construction industry.

You can make a difference by identifying one or more of these signs of a mentally unhealthy workplace and doing something about it,

  • Workers less likely to speak to managers about their mental health (anxiety, depression, stress etc.).
  • Workplace lacks the adequate procedures to recognise struggling workers and provide them with support.
  • Workers feel isolated and without support
  • Sick leave and compensation claims are rampant among workers.

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CFMEU Program Addresses Worker Mental Health


Workers going through depression and anxiety have been offered a free helping hand from a new training package introduced by the CFMEU and developed by beyondblue.

The ‘Mental Health in the Workplace’ toolbox talk training package includes a 90-minute session educating union delegates on how to recognise the red flags of mental health problems, the relationship between the workplace and mental health and how to intervene if one of their members are at risk.

Some of the concerns the program aims to address include a lack of awareness of depression and anxiety and the negative stigma linked to mental conditions.

Australian Public Service Promotes Workplace Mental Health

The Australian Public Service (APS) has just released its new guide across the country which aims to promote mental health and wellbeing among employees. The guide is entitled “Working Together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work”.

The new guide is a collaborative effort between the Australian Public Service and Comcare who want to promote mental health among workers, thereby promoting productivity. In fact the organisations want to encourage workplaces to adopt positive attitudes that can respond appropriately to mental ill health at work, whereas at the moment many workplaces do not know how to deal with this issue.

According to the media release on The Australian Public Service website the guide will cover the following topics:

  •  How to create respectful workplaces
  •  Talking about mental health
  •  Managing risks to prevent harm
  •  Recognising when help is needed
  • Supporting return to work.

mhgfactsheetsThe guide is a key initiative of the Australian Public Service Commission’s As One—APS Disability Employment Strategy.

This guide, Working Together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work, is a key initiative of As One—APS Disability Employment Strategy. The guide aims to empower managers and employees to work together to build inclusive workplace cultures and effective systems for promoting mental health in the Australian Public Service (APS).

We will all be touched by mental ill health at some stage in our lives and some of us live with a mental health condition. Leaders and managers must build their levels of confidence around mental health issues to better include people with mental ill health in our teams, and to enable appropriate support of employees during illness and recovery.


The guidance aims to address two basic aspects of this problem, namely addressing the technical aspects of dealing with mental health among workers as well as cultural aspects of dealing with the issue.

The technical side includes guidance on improving processes and procedures, including early intervention among workers suffering from mental health issues. The cultural aspects include what attitudinal and behavioural changes to look out for and expect and how to understand and connect with each other in the workplace.

The APS goes on to explain that while the technical changes can be implemented into workplace policies quite quickly and relatively seamlessly, changing the culture of the workplace and people’s attitudes may take more time and sensitivity.

The APS also goes on to explain that the guidance will only be effective if it is adopted correctly, with people in workplaces utilising perseverance, courage, commitment and leadership.

According to the APS it is in everyone’s best interest to adopt this guide, employers, clients and employees all benefit from greater productivity, improved workforce participation and an increase in social inclusion. Workers who are mentally and physically healthy are more happy and productive. Mental health issues in our workplaces have become an increasing problem however little understanding exists about how to deal with these hazards in workplaces.