Our industry feels the impact of suicide more than any other. Every day in Australia eight people die by suicide and six of these will be men. Construction workers are twice as likely as people in other occupations to suicide. These are sobering statistics.
The number of suicides reported to Incolink has spiked from one every six months two years ago, to around one every month over the past year.
In response, Incolink recently launched the Bluehats Suicide Prevention Initiative which tackles the rising rate of suicide among construction workers by fostering a culture of talking about it.
One-hour Bluehats General Awareness Sessions (GAS) are now underway at construction sites in Melbourne. By early 2019 around 800 workers from Multiplex, Mirvac and Kane will have attended a GAS session.
Workers from the GAS sessions who are keen to become a Bluehat at their site are welcome to apply to do the one-day training course.
The first group of 15 Bluehats graduates were presented with certificates and a distinctive blue hard hat in December 2018. The new Bluehats are now an important first point of contact on site
for workers who are doing it tough.
We asked some of them what had motivated them to sign up and this is what they said:
“I have spent over 25 years in the industry and have seen a lot of change. There is a lot of pressure now both at work and at home and I want to be someone that workers can talk to, to get negative thoughts out of their head. I think that people feel comfortable knowing they can speak with someone on site. They know they’re not on their own.” Adam Brown
“Over the years I have spoken to many blokes onsite and I volunteered to be a Bluehat to make a difference. Sometimes you just listen to someone who is struggling and be a beacon – someone they can come and chat with.” Andrew Stainthorpe
Incolink Chief Executive Dan O’Brien says Incolink is focused on reducing suicide among construction workers. “Mental health is a big issue in our industry and unfortunately too many of us know someone who has been impacted by suicide. Ultimately, the objective of Bluehats is simple – get the numbers down and save lives.”
Learn more about Bluehats at incolink.org.au/bluehats or contact David Cronin on 03 9668 3067. Incolink employer members can register their site for Bluehats GAS training.