New blueprint for suicide prevention in construction industry 

Published: 11 April 2019

Earlier this month, Mates in Construction launched its Blueprint for Better Mental Health to assist in suicide prevention for workers in the construction industry.

The blueprint has been prepared in response to the fact that Australia’s building and construction industry experiences significantly higher rates of suicide and mental health issues when compared to the general population.

Research conducted by Mates in Construction has found that the risk of suicide for construction workers is 53% higher than other sectors, with over 3000 construction workers dying from suicide between 2001 and 2015. 

Alarmingly, at an average of 200 workers per year, suicide is the cause of well over six times the mortality from construction workplace accidents.

The Blueprint has been developed following extensive stakeholder engagement, which kicked off in 2016 with an industry roundtable in which the AMCA participated. 

It incorporates references to a broad range of evidence-based workplace mental health resources to help people and organisations take effective action to create mentally healthy environments in the construction industry.

This blueprint recommends that workplace programs adopt the following interventions:

  1. Promote work's positive impact on mental health
  2. Reduce harmful impacts of work 
  3. Provide mental health and suicide prevention literacy
  4. Facilitate early intervention and treatment
  5. Provide return-to-work and ongoing support.

The blueprint is being supported by Construction Skills Queensland, who have announced that it will help fund a variety of mental health projects, with over $700,000 being contributed towards the implementation of the new MATES Awareness Training for small work sites with fewer than twelve workers.

AMCA Executive Director, Mr Sumit Oberoi, commended Mates in Construction for its leadership on such an important issue.

“Suicide prevention is perhaps the most critical issue for our industry to face right now.  Having such high instances, vastly disproportionate the rest of the population is simply unacceptable and we all have a responsibility to take action”, Mr Oberoi said.

“The AMCA has been very supportive of this project from its inception and we will continue to work with Mates in Construction to raise awareness and deliver appropriate training.” 

“A dedicated website has been established, where industry can download the blueprint and evidence-based research on some of the underlying causes of the problem”. 

“We also encourage our members and other industry stakeholder to show their commitment to taking action by registering their organisation”. 

Visit the Construction Blueprint website for more information.