Members who are working in a work health and safety role, spend considerable amount of time and effort attempting to prevent harm occurring to their colleagues in the workplace. One of the most tragic workplace fatalities which can occur is a worker committing suicide. A frightening statistic quoted by Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler, is that “Construction workers are up to six times more likely to die from suicide than accidents at work.”
In an attempt to address this issue, Minister Mark Butler has announced $5.24 million for a new suicide prevention initiative to be rolled out on construction sites across Australia.
The program is designed to build “better connections between construction workers, mental health professionals and other organisations to offer support for people in these industries who are at risk of suicide.” The program is part of a larger Labor Government campaign Taking Action to Tackle Suicide package. The initiative will see the program roll out in South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales and expand in Queensland where it has reportedly already had remarkable results, as reported by Mates in Construction CEO Jorgen Gullestrup.
Jorgen Gullestrup reported that “On average the Mates in Construction program in Queensland intervened in a suicide plan or attempt once or twice per week, we expect to see similarly effective prevention in other parts of the country.
“We have more than 23,000 workers in the program nationally and we connect two to three workers to help each other every day - I believe this additional funding will help us save lives,” Mr Gullestrup said.