Suicide crisis hits tradies
ONE Victorian construction worker commits suicide each month, new data reveals, prompting the launch of a program to train tradies in mental health first-aid on all worksites.
Long working days and clocking on at odd hours, strict construction deadlines amid a statewide building boom, job instability and a lack of control about the working day are some of the pressures that construction industry leaders say may add to the complex mix of personal and psychological issues that lead to self-harm.
Suicides in the commercial construction industry — which makes up about 40 per cent of the state construction workforce — have gone from two a year in 2016-2017, to one every 40 days over the last financial year, and one every 30 days already this year.
The deaths were reported to the industry’s insurance and counselling provider, Incolink.
The trend mirrors the national increase in the suicide rate, with Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting this month the rate had hit a 10-year high, with 3128 people — or more than eight a day — taking their own life in Australia last year.
Incolink will today launch the Bluehats program, which will see specially trained tradies and managers appearing on construction sites in blue hard hats to lend an ear to stressed colleagues and direct them to professional support. FOR SUPPORT, PHONE LIFELINE ON 131 114 OR THE SUICIDE CALLBACK SERVICE ON 1300 659 467