More than 500 construction sites around Australia are flying the flag of mental health and suicide prevention as part of the annual MATES in Construction ‘Fly the Flag Day’, in partnership with R U OK?
Workers aims to raise awareness to help prevent suicide in the construction industry, where it is six times more likely to that someone will be lost to suicide than a workplace accident.
MATES NSW CEO Brad Parker said that the organisation’s Fly the Flag initiative has gained more and more momentum each year.
“Today in particular we want mates to ask each other R U OK? It’s an important question to ask and it’s even more important to listen the answer. That’s what MATES in Construction is all about – giving people the tools to recognise when someone else is not doing well and not just by their words but also their actions,” Parker said.
“Factors such as low job control, job insecurity and high work demands combined with personal issues put workers in the construction industry at greater risk and MATES will continue to do all we can to assist suicide prevention in our industry.
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“We couldn’t reach as many workers and get the message across without the support of great industry partners such as Multiplex.”
Multiplex Regional Director, Daniel Murphy, said it recognises the power of open conversation and the role everyone has in helping each other stay mentally well.
“As an industry we need to continue giving attention to mental health and acknowledging the unique stresses our project-based workers face,” Murphy said.
“MATES in Construction shines a much-needed light on suicide prevention in our industry and supports workers on our projects regardless of who they are employed by. We are proud to partner with MATES, and we look forward to flying the flag for them this R U OK Day.”
Every year 190 Australian who work in the construction industry will take their own life. MATES has developed a program that trains workers to recognise when a co-worker may be doing it tough and how to step in.
More than 180,000 workers have been trained as part of the program.
Along with construction sites, politicians in Canberra have also come together to show their support for MATES and suicide prevention.
MATES CEO Chris Lockwood said the initiative has gained real momentum.
“We’re also proud to have been able to partner with businesses and workers in the mining and energy sectors who face similar pressures in unique work environments to access the support they need,” he said.
“By training workers to recognise when their fellow mates need help and connecting them with the right services is how we can reduce suicides, encourage better mental health, and build more resilient workplaces.”
If you or anyone you know needs help:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
MATES in Construction: 1300 642 111