Bluehats: Incolink's new program to tackle suicide in construction

Published: 29 October 2018

Victoria’s construction industry redundancy fund Incolink has launched a new program to tackle the rising rate of suicide amongst workers in the Victorian construction industry.

Over the past 18 months, the number of reported suicides has been on the rise—from one every six months two years ago to around one every month in the past year.

Bluehats is Incolink’s new suicide prevention initiative, co-designed with the construction industry, to help workers experiencing suicidal thoughts by creating a culture of talking about the issue.

Incolink will train construction workers in a General Awareness Session and provide a full-day training course for those identified to help tackle the issue onsite—identifiable by their unique branded blue hardhat.

CEO Dan O’Brien said upon completing the course that all ‘Bluehats’ will be offered support by Incolink Member Wellbeing & Support counsellors to assist them in their duties.

“Mental health is a big issue in our industry and unfortunately too many of us know someone who has been impacted by suicide,” said Mr O’Brien.

“The Bluehats will play a listening and connecting role onsite and promote the conversation about suicide – thus the tagline for the campaign Let’s Talk.”

Incolink has been providing Counselling support and Mental Health awareness to the Victorian Construction industry for almost 30 years and this dedicated program tackles a concerning trend.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of suicides in the Victorian construction industry. We just couldn’t keep watching the numbers rise and not step in so we’ve worked with unions & employers to develop the Bluehats program tailored to the Victorian construction industry,” said Mr O’Brien.

“The first measure of success for Bluehats will be to initiate a conversation so that we can start to remove some of the stigma. Ultimately, the objective is simple—get the numbers down and save lives.”

The program will be promoted through a social media advertising campaign targeted at Victorian construction workers,  peer to peer and at “Toolbox meetings” across the state.

About Incolink

Incolink is Australia’s oldest and largest manager of redundancy entitlements for workers in the building and construction industry, having provided a safety net for construction industry workers in Victoria since 1988. Incolink is a joint enterprise of employer associations and industry unions – we bring workers and employers together in partnership to address industry problems.

Workers’ funds are entrusted with us by over 3,500 employers. We are a respected part of the industry, with over 71,000 members spanning specialisations including commercial building, construction, plumbing, transport, mechanical services and manufacturing.

Incolink’s core value proposition is the administration of redundancy funds, portable sick leave and income protection insurance schemes for members. Every year, Incolink provides thousands of services including; problem gambling education, alcohol & other drugs preventative education programs, job support, counselling support for individual workers and their families.