MATES In Construction CEO Jorgen Gullestrup has welcomed the Queensland Government’s recent announcement of $1 million in renewed funding, saying the support would help the fight to save lives across the state. Mr Gullestrup spoke to Gladstone News about the programs the charity offers free of charge to businesses in the mining, energy, construction and building industry.
“MATES in Construction has a number of programs available. People are generally not very good at asking for help, so we aim to equip people with the skills to offer help instead,” Mr Gullestrup said. MATES in Construction has been working with local businesses and small builders in the Gladstone region to encourage workers to be mindful of their mental health, especially following the economic downturn experienced in the region following the Curtis Island construction boom. “We have programs particularly targeted to small businesses that are deliverable at toolbox talks about how we can support workers.”
Mr Gullestrup said the Queensland Government had long understood the importance of suicide prevention programs in the construction industry and had invested in supporting construction workers.
“This $1 million, 12-month commitment from the Queensland Government will help us expand our programs to more workers on more building sites, particularly in regional and rural areas,” Mr Gullestrup said.
“Sadly, the rate of suicide in the building and construction industry is between two and three times that of the general community, and in Queensland, the average age of suicide for construction workers is just 36.
“In our ten years working in Queensland, MATES in Construction has trained nearly 77,000 people in recognising colleagues who need help and knowing how to help them.
“Sadly, the need never goes away, but with support such as this from the Queensland Government we can continue to help construction workers to help each other to prevent suicide.”
For further information about how Mates in Construction may be able to assist you or someone you know, please visit http://matesinconstruction.org.au