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$5.24 million suicide prevention initiative for construction workers

6 August 2012 - 4:10pm
Written by: 
Suzanne Still

A new initiative in corporate health has been established with $5.24 million for a new suicide prevention program announced by minister for mental health Mark Butler on Friday August 3.

The suicide prevention program named Mates in Construction was announced at a construction industry conference in South Australia, and is due to be implemented on construction sites all across Australia.

The funding was provided under the federal government's $132 million Taking Action to Tackle Suicide package, where the program will roll into South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia and then expand into Queensland.

The program would help to build better connections between construction workers, mental health professionals and other support networks, and will aid those who are at risk of suicide in the industry says Mr Butler.

"Construction workers are up to six times more likely to die from suicide than accidents at work so clearly this is an area that needs our attention," he said.

"Mates in Construction is about giving people the tools they need to recognise when a mate is in trouble and needs help."

The program has led to exceptional results in Queensland and has high expectations for other results says Mates in Construction chief executive office Jorgen Gullestrup.

"Getting men to seek help on mental health issues is notoriously difficult, but the Mates in Construction program seems to have cracked this chestnut for the building and construction industry," said Mr Gullestrup.