Mental health and safety in construction

This week is Construction Mental Health Week

The construction industry employs more than 625,000 people across Australia, making it one of the biggest employers in the country and the statistics surrounding suicide in this industry are quite confronting.

According to recent reports from MATES in Construction and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC):

  • Construction workers are more than twice as likely to suicide as other people in Australia

  • Construction workers are six times more likely to die by suicide than through a workplace accident

  • Apprentices in construction are two and a half times more likely to suicide than other young men their age

  • 21% of workers in the construction industry were shown to have had a mental health condition

  • 9% of construction workers have a condition affecting their mood, such as depression

An evidence review focusing on male-dominated industries commissioned by beyond blue also indicates workers in the construction industry may have elevated prevalence rates of depression and anxiety.

Here’s a sobering reality:

In Australia, three quarters of people who take their own lives are men. Their minds pose a greater threat to their lives than cancer or heart failure. It’s clear that gender is a huge risk factor for suicide, and the construction industry is mostly men.

But even among the male population, construction workers are more likely to end their lives.

“Across Australia and all time periods, construction workers have suicide rates 84% higher than non-construction workers.”Every year, 190 lives are lost to suicide in the Australian building industry.

2016 Deakin University report In the construction industry:

  • Suicide rates among workers aged 15 to 24 are more than twice as high as other males in that age bracket.

  • People working in lower skilled jobs are more at risk.

  • Suicide rates for male construction workers are higher in the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia.

  • The lowest rates were in South Australia, NSW and Queensland.

How do you encourage proud men to talk about their emotions at work?

Many won’t do it because it isn’t “manly”.

This is where MATES in Construction steps in. The national charity was set up in 2008 to tackle high suicide rates among Australian construction workers.

They go onto building sites and give people the tools they need to:

  1. Recognise when a mate isn’t coping

  2. Connect that person to social workers, psychologists and suitable assistance

If you need help or know someones that is struggling contact:

SUICIDE CALL BACK SERVICE 1300 659 467 (cost of a local call)
MATES in Construction on 1300 642 111
#MensHealthWeek #mateshelpingmates #constructionindustry


About Amanda Jennings - CHESS

Mates in Construction

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