More than 500 construction, energy and mining sites across Australia are set to take part in the annual MATES in Construction Fly the Flag day to raise awareness for World Suicide Prevention Day.
In the construction industry, a worker is six times more likely to be lost to suicide than a workplace accident.
MATES CEO Chris Lockwood says that despite the challenges of COVID-19, in 2020 MATES is stepping up to raise awareness and provide the support needed to workers experiencing mental health challenges.
“In 2020 MATES is Flying the Flag high to showcase mental health and suicide prevention at work,” Lockwood says.
“It is our way to show support for the 20,000 plus MATES-trained volunteers and 200,000+ workers looking out for their MATES every day.
“The construction industry has a high rate of mental health stressors, with a construction worker six times more likely to be lost to suicide than a workplace accident.”
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MATES SA Senior Field Office Bob Clifford says the causes of mental stress for construction workers are varied.
“It can be a tough industry, with job insecurity, long hours, sometimes difficult heavy work and on top of that, a culture that sometimes doesn’t allow people to be vulnerable,” Clifford says.
“When you add in all the other challenges people can face, such as financial pressures and relationship issues or breakdown – it is a recipe for mental stress, anxiety and depression.
“That is reflected in the stats – each year 190 Australians who work in construction take their own lives – one suicide in the industry every second day.
Clifford said MATES builds care in the construction worker community by educating workers on how to recognise when people are struggling and how to support them to get help, which can be a circuit breaker that can make all the difference.
“So, when we fly the flag, we are acknowledging the hundreds of workers in SA and around the nation who have done our training and are ready to step up to support their mates in the industry when they need it most,” he said.
“That network of care is helping to save lives every day.”
If you or anyone you know needs help:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
MATES in Construction: 1300 642 111