TRIGGER WARNING - This podcast contains information about mental health topics including suicide which may be upsetting to some people.
MATES in Construction: Promoting Mental Health Awareness in the Construction Industry
Mental health is an essential aspect of overall health, and it affects every aspect of a person's life. Mental health is particularly critical in the construction industry, where workers are often exposed to high levels of stress and pressure, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
MATES in Construction is an independent construction industry charity that started in Australia in 2008 and expanded to New Zealand in 2019, focusing on addressing high levels of suicide in the construction industry and creating suicide-safer workplaces. In this episode of Trades, Tools & Talks James Sendall, a Field Officer at MATES in Construction New Zealand, discussed the organization, its mission, and the importance of mental health awareness in the construction industry.
The importance of mental health awareness in the construction industry
MATES in Construction is a charity that aims to reduce the rate of suicide in the construction industry by raising awareness of mental health issues, breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health, and providing support to those in need. The organization focuses on building strong connections and creating a community within the construction industry to address mental health and suicide prevention. MATES in Construction has experienced significant growth in recent years, now having 171 partners and expanding to multiple cities in New Zealand.
The construction industry has one of the highest rates of suicide in New Zealand, and it's essential to address mental health issues in the industry. During the podcast, Sendall emphasized the importance of building connections and breaking down the stigma around mental health issues in the construction industry. By sharing personal experiences and encouraging others to do the same, people in the industry can feel more comfortable discussing their struggles and seeking support.
MATES in Construction's growth and plans
MATES in Construction has experienced significant growth in recent years, and Sendall discussed the organization's plans for the future. The organization's training program consists of three stages: general awareness training, connector training, and applied suicide intervention skills training (ASIST). The first stage builds awareness around mental health and suicide prevention in the construction industry, and the second stage involves installing "connectors" on worksites who can detect and triage those struggling with mental health issues. The final stage is installing at least one ASIST trained person per company or site, who can intervene in a crisis situation. The goal is to create suicide-safe workplaces and provide support to those in need.
Encouraging people to check in on their MATES
Building rapport and maintaining open communication is crucial in addressing mental health issues, and Sendall emphasized the importance of checking in on your MATES. He encouraged people to reach out to someone they trust when they are struggling, even if it's not a professional. "It doesn't need to be professional help, it doesn't necessarily need to be a counselor or a psychologist, psychiatrist, anything clinical. It could just be someone that you trust within your circle to have a conversation."
How to get involved with MATES in Construction
MATES in Construction relies on volunteers and donations to carry out its mission. Sendall encourages people to get involved by becoming a connector, attending general awareness training, or making a donation to the organization. By working together, we can create a safer and more supportive environment for workers in the construction industry.
Anyone can get involved with MATES in Construction by attending their training programs or volunteering as a connector. By breaking down the stigma around mental health, building connections, and maintaining open communication, we can create suicide-safe workplaces in the construction industry. Learn how to get involved and support the cause on their website.