Help for work­ers in need of a mate

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION -

THE new Perth Sta­dium build­ing site hosted an event to raise aware­ness around men­tal health in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

Mates in Con­struc­tion (MIC) aims to raise aware­ness and sup­port a phi­los­o­phy of mates help­ing mates.

Con­struc­tion work­ers are six times more likely to die from sui­cide than from a work­place ac­ci­dent and ap­pren­tices are at an even greater risk of sui­cide.

While one in four work­ers in the in­dus­try has at­tempted sui­cide at some time in their life, only 7 per cent have tried to seek in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional help.

This is some­thing MIC wants to change.

MIC WA pro­vides on­site train­ing and aware­ness.

More than 14,000 work­ers have at­tended train­ing, more than 1000 work­ers have vol­un­teered to be in­volved.

The last fi­nan­cial year MIC de­liv­ered train­ing to more than 50 WA con­struc­tion sites and head of­fices.

Con­struc­tion, Forestry, Min­ing and En­ergy Union State sec­re­tary Mick Buchan said the pro­gram “has saved many, many lives”.

“MIC started as a pi­lot pro­gram at Fiona Stan­ley Hos­pi­tal and has grown from that,” Mr Buchan said.

“We have a very high rate of sui­cide in our in­dus­try and Mates in Con­struc­tion does a lot of good work get­ting con­struc­tion work­ers to talk about is­sues with their mates, which is im­por­tant in get­ting help.

“It is not a taboo sub­ject any more.

“The men­tal­ity of ‘toughen up princess’ has been bro­ken down.

“What we are find­ing is that peo­ple are now talk­ing about prob­lems and get­ting sup­port.”

Mr Buchan said work­ers faced pres­sures at home and on the job. d457996

Laing O’Rourke re­gional rail man­ager Garry McLaugh­lin said his com­pany was proud of its as­so­ci­a­tion with Mates in Con­struc­tion.

“Peer-based sup­port pro­grams such as Mates in Con­struc­tion have been valu­able at Sta­dium Rail Project to raise aware­ness of sui­cide pre­ven­tion, build ca­pac­ity in our work­force and pro­vide help to our fel­low work­ers,” Mr McLaugh­lin said.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

Front row at cen­tre are Mt Law­ley MLA Michael Suther­land and Perth MLA Eleni Evan­gel.

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