September 10, 2020 was RUOK? Day which coincided with World Suicide Prevention Day. The focus being on how each one of us can play an important role, in suicide prevention.
Sadly, most of us know of someone who has committed (or attempted to) suicide. For many, this person is more than just a casual acquaintance, they are a close friend, workmate, relative or family member.
Mates in Construction provides suicide prevention through community development programs on sites, and by supporting workers in need, through case management and a 24/7 help line. This service extends to the Mining industry, nationally.
Every year 190 Australians working in the construction industry take their own lives. Suicide rates are 80% higher than the general population. We lose a construction worker to suicide, every second day! Construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide, than from an accident at work! The facts show, that our young workers are well over two times more likely to take their own lives, than any other young Australian males.
Why is this happening?
Work within the construction industry is transitory, with most workers employed for the duration of a project, which may range from a few weeks to a few years at best. This creates a lack of job security, and puts pressure on families, especially as the project nears completion. Construction workers also have an issue with pride, and are reticent to talk about personal issues or display emotions, believing this to be a sign of weakness.
This issue is now escalating, due to the uncertainty of the economy in the midst of this COVID-19 Pandemic. The Black Dog Institute Director. Helen Christensen, was one of the collaborators of research into the worldwide effects of the pandemic. Helen has written a paper, warning mental health services, to develop clear remote assessment and care pathways for people with suicidal tendencies or disposition.
You can read the full article here: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/news/mental-health-services-need-to-prepare-for-a-rise-in-suicides-due-to-covid-19/ (copy and paste into your browser if required)
Crown Construction Services work closely with Mates in Construction, ensuring all of our employees receive General Awareness Training (GAT) wherever possible. This training introduces workers to the nature of the problem, that it’s okay to talk about mental health and provides practical guidance as to how they can assist.
Our Acting Safety Manager has completed the next two steps of the training:
- Connector Training. This training is provided to those people on site who volunteer to become a Connector – a person trained to help keep someone safe in a crisis, while at the same time connecting them to professional help.
- Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). This equips individuals to become an ASIST worker, comparable to the first aid officer on-site. ASIST workers will talk to a person contemplating suicide with the objective of making this person ‘safe’. Using simple skills, an ASIST worker will listen to the person’s concerns and respond to them appropriately with the aim of reaching a ‘safe plan’.
Check out the link below to the Mates in Construction website for support, training, awareness (and much more), and how you can help reduce the risk of this happening in our industry.
Please take the time to watch this informative video by Mates in Construction. (manup.org)