Suicide is an issue that seems to be growing, especially in highly pressurised work environments such as construction. The issue has become such a relevant one in the construction industry in the Queensland that a program now exists to help workers in the industry identify suicidal tendencies in their co-workers and help to combat the problem.
An alarming revelation has been made by WorkCover Queensland, according to data obtained by the work safety authority, a construction worker in Queensland is 6 times more likely to die as a result of suicide than lose their life in an on-site accident. This information was gained from the Mates in Construction charity construction.
Workers are also more than twice as likely to commit suicide than other groups of men in Australia and any other industry, this according to the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention report into suicides in the Queensland construction industry.
A post on WorkCover Queensland’s website described how Australian Bureau of statistics data has shown that men are much more likely to take their own lives than women although women attempt suicide more than men, their attempts are often unsuccessful.
The article on WorkCover’s website also quoted the MATES in Construction Operations manager, John Brady who explained more about the problem facing Queensland’s construction industry:
MATES in Construction Operations manager, John Brady says employers are now coming to understand that mental health and wellbeing is a workplace health and safety issue. As a safety issue, it forms part of their duty of care to their employees.
John added that MATES in Construction exists to support the construction industry to deal with high rates of suicide. It does this by raising awareness that suicide is a preventable problem and makes clear pathways for workers to get help which makes getting help easier. They also follow up to ensure the help workers get is appropriate to their needs.
Established in 2008 in response to high suicide statistics in the industry, John says MATES in Construction aims to build a culture on site where it is okay to ask for help. It trains workers to identify when a mate might be struggling and how to support them to get the help they need.
The MATES in Construction program is aimed at tackling the issue of construction worker suicide in particular and because this has been identified as such a major problem in Queensland, employers as well as workers in this industry should embrace and make use of the program.
Raising awareness for the problem of suicide in the industry is vital in making workers less ashamed to talk about their issues and needs and hopefully reduce the number of suicide attempts we see in this state.
The post also explained that the MATES in Construction program is delivered on site and supported by the MATES team of field officers, backed up by case managers and the 24/7 help line 1300642 111.