Suicide prevention group Mates in Construction, with members on the Gold Coast, has welcomed the newly established Queensland suicide prevention taskforce.
CEO Jorgen Gullestrup commended the Queensland Government on its announcement of the taskforce which seeks to halve the number of suicides over the next 10 years.
“We’re pleased to see the Government is taking action – it’s an ambitious target but it’s possible,” Mr Gullestrup said.
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“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.
“We know that men are less likely to seek help than women, and we know that construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than from an accident at work. So it’s important we work to strengthen the connection between those at risk and help services.
“It’s essential that we continue to work together in community, in workplaces, to bridge the gap between those doing it tough and help.”
The MIC program has been recognised by the Queensland Government in its Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2015-17 with a specific action to ‘Support the MATES in Construction Scoping Project – Saving Lives in the Construction Industry’. The Queensland Mental Health Commission has funded MIC to develop this scoping project into a specific proposal now being considered by the Queensland Government.
“We estimate that an allocation of a small proportion of the Workplace Health and Safety Levy collected each year towards workplace mental health and suicide prevention can reduce suicide by up to 8 per cent in our industry,” Mr Gullestrup said.
“Is it worth investment? You can ask anyone who has lost a loved one, anyone who has got a second chance at life – I think they would agree,” he said.