Mental health charity MATES In Construction (MATES) is striving to support the mental health of construction workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Men who work in construction are 71 per cent more likely to die from suicide than those in other industries, making these workers particularly vulnerable in the current environment.

MATES has launched an information campaign, aimed at protecting Queensland construction workers from mental health issues caused during the pandemic, including numerous billboards across the state encouraging workers in the construction industry to look out for each other throughout this crisis.

MATES QLD CEO, Jorgen Gullestrup, said the industry-based suicide prevention charity has received an increase in demand for its support services in recent weeks.

“We want all construction workers to know that during these highly worrying times that there is help available and we are here for them,” Mr Gullestrup said.

“A construction worker is six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work. We are launching a series of billboards across Queensland urging construction workers to look out for one another and that social distancing does not mean social isolation.”

Under the slogan ‘MATES – stronger together in tough times’, the charity calls on construction workers to ‘Look out for your MATES’ and remind the industry that ‘Social Distancing does not mean Social Isolation’.

“While the industry is working, we have a network of Connectors and ASIST workers on sites, specially trained to spot a co-worker having difficulties and offering help.  This campaign is aimed at encouraging workers to maintain this contact and support offering outside work as well – particularly for those who may have to leave work during this crisis.

“We know from experience that men find it difficult to ask for help and MATES In Construction is all about helping those who need it.” 

The campaign is supported by the Building Employees Redundancy Trust, Construction Skills Queensland and the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations.  

MATES in Construction is an industry-led approach to an industry problem helping men on the ground, in their workplaces, to seek help and get better. Construction workers can call the MIC hotline anytime on 1300 642 111.  

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