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Mates in Construction Programme Reducing Suicide Rates

October 26, 2014 0 Comments

The Mates in Construction Programme was developed to support Construction Workers and reduce suicide rates within the construction industry. So far the programme has impacted the suicide rates within Queensland dramatically.

Professor Christopher Doran of the Hunter Medical Research Institute said, “Mates in Construction achieved a 10 per cent reduction in the risk of suicide over a five-year period between 2008 and 2012 in Queensland”.

Research shows that apprentices and young workers aged between 15 and 24 were ten times more likely to take their own lives than die from an accident on a construction site. As the suicide rates of Construction Workers is up to 25 per cent higher than the Australian average, Mates in Construction is a much needed programme.

Mates in Construction centres around Construction Workers looking out for their mates and co-workers. Workers are trained to notice changes in behaviour of colleagues on construction sites, and then encouraging the person in distress to seek help from a social worker and psychologist.

This much needed programme is funded by the unions, employers and the Federal Government.

Matt Cole, a Mates in Construction Trainer, who is based at the South Australian Royal Hospital building site said that there are many factors that contribute to the high suicide rates.

These include:

  • relationship issues
  • finance pressures
  • involvement with the law
  • drugs and alcohol
  • dealing with bullying behaviour (high rates in the construction industry)
  • no permanency of a job
  • gambling
  • isolation for workers travelling to interstate or remote building sites
  • exhaustion from long hours to meet deadlines
  • feeling overwhelmed and not knowing how to ask for help

So far the Mates in Construction programme has trained 60,000 construction workers throughout:

  • QLD
  • NSW
  • WA
  • SA

With the success of the programme, the philosophy behind it could be used to reduce tragic suicide rates in other professions.

Professor Doran said, “Suicide rates are high in other industries as well. We are currently working with people in the mining sector and a whole range of other industries to implement a similar program.”

If you are a Construction Worker or you live with one, and you need someone to chat with please call the Mates in Construction Hotline on 1300 642 111. The phones are manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also visit their website for more information: Mates in Construction

Filed in: Industry News

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