What will it take to lower the suicide rate in construction?

 In Blog, Employers Tips

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.

There are also a range of non-for-profit organisations that run workshops and training programs on these subjects Try Headsup, MATES in Construction or  Beyondblue.

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?

Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service1300 659 467 for 24-hour Australian counselling services.

Beyondblue(1300 22 4636) for 24-hour phone support, online chat, resources and apps.

Headspace offers online counselling for young people aged 12-25 and ReachOut has online forums, chat and information about youth mental health.

For information on WHS or HR related matters such as policy’s contact us here or call Signature Staff on +61 07 4050 3888

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