More than 1000 construction sites and businesses will raise a flag from cranes, scaffolding or office windows to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention.
Workers in the construction industry are six times more likely than other industries to die by suicide. Around 190 Australians who work in the construction industry die by suicide every year.
MATES in Construction has trained more than 140,000 workers to recognise the red flags when a co-worker is struggling with mental health and how to step in.
MATES CEO Chris Lockwood said that the organisation’s Fly the Flag initiative has gained more and more momentum each year, with the number of participating sites more than doubling from last year.
“For the first time this year we have mining and energy businesses participating along with construction sites,” said Mr Lockwood.
“The construction industry which is predominantly male, has a culture that can often leave workers feeling isolated and not knowing how to ask for help.
“Factors such as job insecurity, high work demands, and financial stress combined with relationship breakdowns put workers in the construction industry at greater risk and MATES will continue to do all we can to prevent suicides in this and similar high-risk industries,” he said.
Mr Lockwood said it is important for workers to know that there is somewhere and someone to turn to.
“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,” Mr Lockwood said.
“By training workers to recognise when their fellow mates need help and connecting them with the right services is how we can reduce the scourge of suicide – to do this we need the continued support of both government and industry.”
Lifeline: 13 11 14 – www.lifeline.org.au
MATES in Construction Helpline: 1300 642 111