MATES in Construction was one of three amazing charities selected by SignOnSite to participate in an out-of-the box fundraiser at Sydney Build. We put up $10,000, and the Expo attendees voted with their discarded coffee cups as to how the money would be shared. The votes are in, with MATES getting $2,000.
About MATES in Construction
Construction, mining and energy workers are taking their lives at unprecedented rates, well above the general working population. The situation is dire, despite suicide being a preventable problem.
Breaking down the stigmas associated with mental health by building better, more supportive workplace cultures is an essential first step; but employers must also create inclusive environments where workers feel comfortable raising their voices when facing tough times.
Leading the way in this culture shift is MATES in Construction - a recognised Australian charity that provides training to construction workers across the country on how to recognise the early signs of suicide.
Launched in 2008 - at a time when there was an even greater need for an approach to identify why construction workers were committing suicide at such high rates - MATES has quickly become a life saver for the industry.
With a key focus on raising awareness through effective and direct communication with all levels of the construction industry, MATES also actively engages the industry in various programs, including:
- General awareness training (GAT),
- Connector (where volunteers learn how to connect someone to help within 4 hours); and,
- ASIST (an intensive two-day course comparable to a Suicide First Aid course)
MATES also gathers data, conducts research and provides further assistance through case management, connecting workers to support by utilising existing services, ensuring it is both practical and useful.
Since inception, MATES has trained over 250,00 workers, 23,000 Connectors and ASIST trained over 3000 people. Additionally, they’ve case managed almost 12,000 people - with their research indicating that the suicide rate in the construction industry has reduced by 8-10% since their initial launch in 2008.
How you can get involved
If you’re inspired by the work that MATES in Construction is doing to help reduce suicide rates in the construction industry, there are a few ways you can get involved.
Donations (both large and small) help keep the wheels turning at MATES, assisting with additional resources, staff and field officers - all of which continue their life saving work.
You can also support MATES on social media, by sharing their tips with your network.
Additionally, you can host a fundraising event, participate in Fly the Flag Day on September
8 (R U OK Day), or put up MATES posters with the helpline number (1300 642 111) throughout your workplace.
If you or a loved one is in immediate danger or at risk of harm, please call 000. For crisis support, such as suicidal intentions, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.