Earthmoving News, Workplace Health & Safety

Get Construction Talking launches in Sydney

How one organisation is addressing the striking problem of suicide in the construction industry

In an effort to raise awareness of mental health in construction, a new global initiative called Get Construction Talking was announced earlier this year as a joint initiative between construction video and news channel B1M and software developer Procore.

The Australian launch took place at the beginning of November at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, with mental health advocates, researchers and construction workers gathering together to raise money and spread awareness.

The event was supported by Mates in Construction, with CEO Chris Lockwood speaking on a panel at the event about construction’s struggle with mental health and how to start conversations in the workplace.

Construction is suffering from an invisible epidemic, with around 200 Australian construction workers taking their own lives each year.

Data shows that construction workers are six times more likely to die by suicide than from an accident at work. Furthermore, young men working in construction are twice as likely to die by suicide than the average outside of the industry.

Other research has shown that stigma and pride create significant barriers for workers to openly discuss their feelings with supervisors or work colleagues. This perpetuates silence and researchers have found that suicide in these instances is often impulsive, meaning rarely are there warning signs shown for others to notice and prevent it.

Mates in Construction is an independent charity that plays a pivotal part in addressing how the construction industry goes about navigating such a sensitive topic. By providing suicide prevention programs, general awareness training, ASIST courses, workshops and more, the construction industry has begun to make lasting changes to people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“When Mates was started in 2008, suicide was seen almost entirely as a health problem requiring health responses,” Lockwood says.

“Programs such as Mates have shown that we achieve much more when we engage all of the community.

“We know that construction workers are prepared to make a difference with more than 230,000 workers participating and more than 22,000 volunteer Connectors engaged across more than 1,000 sites. A five-year review of Mates conducted in 2016 showed that suicide rates in the industry had fallen by almost eight per cent after the introduction of Mates in Construction. It was also shown that governments saved $4.6 for every dollar invested in Mates.”

The Mates mission is clear – by providing help, raising awareness and tackling the mental health crisis in the construction industry, we can continue to break down barriers and help save lives.

The Mates 24/7 helpline is available to call at 1300 642 111. Learn more about Mates at   

For more information on the Get Construction Talking initiative, visit:

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