Construction industry flying the suicide prevention flag

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660 flags will fly at 450 construction sites across the country and the Auckland Harbor Bridge will be lit up for our friends this week as the industry rises to support mental health and suicide prevention, said Victoria McArthur, CEO of Mates in Construction.

MATES in Construction is a construction industry-wide suicide prevention charity that takes a worker-led approach to providing on-site training, workshops and support services to increase research and l offer of help among the construction workforce. Some MATES field workers have lived experience in the construction industry and all have a deep understanding of the causes of mental distress.

“Our industry has the highest suicide rate of any industry in New Zealand – we’re six times more likely to lose a friend to suicide than to an accident at work, and our rates suicide rates are twice as high as in other occupations in the industry. In a predominantly male field like ours, there can be a lot of reluctance to talk about mental health.

“This is why we have asked our entire industry to fly the flag this week – to send a strong signal that we put the health and the lives of our colleagues first, that it is okay to talk about health. mental and that help is available if people reach outside. We also recognize and remember all those companions that we have lost through suicide.

“Especially right now, many people are doing things hard in our industry – facing the continued effects and uncertainty of COVID-19 and the Delta variant, facing enormous workloads and challenges. time constraints. Our frontline workforce is very stressed and we have now seen an additional layer of complexity. I’m really worried we might be headed for a perfect storm.

“In one of our recent training sessions, we heard from one of our older workers – he spoke about the difficulties he was facing, wanting to see his moko but unable to do so due to these restrictions, and of the fear that comes with seeing young people during this pandemic We need to continue to be there for each other as we go through this.

“This is why this campaign is important and we are absolutely thrilled with the industry and public response to this campaign – it shows how strong our community is. Fly the Flag brings us together as a collective, helping friends, stronger together.

“There is a mental health crisis in our construction industry, but we can all play our part in creating workplaces and communities where we care for our friends, support those who need help and let’s ask for help ourselves when we need it, ”says Victoria McArthur. .

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