MATES In Construction signs first partnership with local government

Whanganui District Council has signed a partnership with MATES in Construction (MATES), for training and support services to promote mental health and suicide awareness among construction workers.

MATES will work alongside Whanganui District Council staff to improve their knowledge of mental health and suicide prevention.

Managing Director David Langford said: “The council is a big player in the construction industry in Whanganui. We work with contractors on our projects, local companies maintain all of our facilities, and our building inspectors are on site with local builders every day.

“Partnering with MATES means council staff will be able to support Whanganui builders and tradespeople who may be struggling. This is particularly important now that inflation and supply chain issues are making life even more difficult for the sector.

David Langford says MATES will also look to work on council-led projects, to ensure good mental health supports are spread across the wider Whanganui area.

He says, “We are delighted to have formalized this partnership this week and to take this important step as a board.

Mates in Construction (MATES) was launched in New Zealand in November 2019, in response to the alarming number of suicides in the industry. The organization provides early intervention training and support services that promote mental health and suicide awareness and encourage help-seeking and help-seeking among construction workers.

MATES Chief Executive Victoria McArthur said the organization was delighted to welcome Whanganui District Council as a Premium Partner.

“This is the first local government entity to become a partner,” she says, “and it really shows how forward-thinking this region is.

“Wanganui District Council has a long-term strategic plan to develop infrastructure that provides a foundation for building strong and resilient communities. This vision includes the well-being of everyone involved, creating communities of people who can support each other.

Victoria McArthur said, “The construction industry continues to have the highest number of suicides of any industry in this country, so it’s great that our first council is taking on this leadership role.

“It’s an exciting undertaking to be involved in and we look forward to working with David and the team at Whanganui.”

Since its inception, MATES in New Zealand has:

• Induction of more than 34,000 workers into the general awareness training program

• Delivered the program to 687 sites.

• Supported 576 case management clients by connecting them to the right supports

• Training of 1727 people as connectors.

• Gained support from 152 industry organizations.

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