More than 500 Gold Coast construction workers will today leave the tools behind to learn the best ways to recognise and support their mates in need, during a mass training exercise with suicide prevention group MATES in Construction (MIC).
MIC CEO Jorgen Gullestrup said the group’s field officers will deliver training to the entire Gold Coast City Council’s (GCCC’s) outside and maintenance workforce. With awareness and a few skills people can make a real difference, and will be able to recognise early the signs that a co-worker isn’t doing so well, and what to do about it.
“We want to commend the Council for giving their staff the tools for prevention, which will help ensure construction workers on the Gold Coast stay healthy, and know that their mates have their back when life throws them a curveball,” Mr Gullestrup said.
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Queensland men are some of the most likely in the country to suicide, however construction workers are at an even higher risk, with suicide rates as much as 20 – 25 per cent higher than in other industries.
“MATES in Construction is an industry-led approach to an industry problem. We provide a program of training that is unique to construction workers, that has been designed specifically to address issues common within the sector,” Mr Gullestrup said.
“Early intervention is the key, so our program has been designed to teach workers what to look out for, and the best ways to reach out and offer a helping hand to someone they’re concerned about,” he said.
Gold Coast City Council staff will join over 50,000 construction workers in Queensland – 27.5 per cent of the industry – who are now in a better position to help out their mates when they need it most.
“Our comprehensive, life-saving program has been implemented at almost 950 sites in Queensland in just two years, and 1610 nationally,” he said.
Since beginning in Queensland in 2013, suicide rates in the construction industry have fallen by almost eight per cent.
“In an industry that employs more than one million people right across Australia, it’s more important than ever that as an industry we continue to let our blokes know that there is help out there, and that they are not alone.”