Mining companies join forces in suicide prevention in an Australian first

Mining companies have for the first time got on board with the annual MATES In Construction ‘Fly the Flag Day’ public awareness campaign to help prevent suicide.

The campaign has gained more and more momentum each year, with the number of participating sites more than doubling from last year.

It involves more than 1000 construction and business sites across Australia, where it is six times more likely that a worker is lost to suicide than a workplace accident.

MATES chief executive Chris Lockwood said, “For the first time this year, we have mining and energy businesses participating along with construction sites.

“We’re proud to have been able to partner with businesses and workers in the mining and energy sectors who face similar pressures in unique work environments to access the support they need.”

MATES have now trained more than 140,000 workers with life-saving skills to recognise when a co-worker may be going through a tough time, and how to step in.

He said the predominantly male industry has a culture that can often leave workers feeling isolated and not knowing how to ask for help.

Lockwood said, “Factors such as job insecurity, high work demands and financial stress, combined with relationship breakdowns, put workers in the construction industry at greater risk, and MATES will continue to do all we can to prevent suicides in this and similar high-risk industries.”

The program has been specifically researched and implemented to address these issues.

“By training workers to recognise when their fellow mates need help and connecting them with the right services is how we can reduce the scourge of suicide — to do this we need the continued support of both government and industry,” Lockwood said.