What will it take to lower the suicide rate in construction?
The statistics around mental health and suicide in the construction industry is confronting to say the least. Our construction workers are more than twice as likely to take their own life as other people in Australia.
In an industry that is dominated by strong alpha males, these statistics my seem illogical at a glance, but if you have a closer look at the industry challenges which includes low employment security, with many workers hired on a project-by-project basis by small businesses. The hours are often long and in addition, these workers are often in the highest risk social categories too — male, with lower levels of formal schooling. And to top it off, there also a stigma in the industry about showing your emotions (aka ‘being a pussy’) and seeking help.
If we can’t change the industry as a whole, we should at least give them education, as additional ‘tools’ in their arsenal. Employers can add related training themes to ‘tool box meetings’, safety inductions and site meetings.
It will take a collaborative approach between all parties involved to implement these initiatives industry-wide instead of just in small pockets, but over time, the support, mental health training and awareness-raising initiatives are set to have a positive impact.
DO YOU, OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW, NEED HELP?
Beyondblue(1300 22 4636) for 24-hour phone support, online chat, resources and apps.
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