Sui­cide cri­sis hits tradies

Herald Sun - - NEWS - BRIGID O’CON­NELL

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

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