Recently Operations Manager Tony Rush was involved in the Community Gatekeeper Training and has since met with the Minister of Mental Health Bronnie Taylor to raise awareness around the alarming rates of suicide within the Australian Construction Industry.
NSW government data shows that construction workers are six times more likely to die by suicide than a workplace accident. Apprentices in construction aged between 15 and 24 are twice as likely to take their life than other young people their age.
Tony is showing his support and getting behind the NSW government project in which “gatekeepers” in high-risk populations and industries train in suicide prevention.
The NSW government have pledged to provide $2.8 million for gatekeeper training over three years.
The project aims to reduce the suicide rate in NSW by 20 per cent by 2023. The government said about 17 people take their life in NSW every week.
Tony has personal experience of losing someone close to him from mental health and that is what motivated him to learn more about it.
“It was an incredibly tough time. I had lots of questions, did we do enough? should I have been there more for that person, should I have noticed the signs. I felt a number of different emotions”
Gatekeepers learn how to recognise the signs that someone is at risk of suicide. They are trained to help workmates, friends and family to stay safe and seek help. This is what Tony said about the Gatekeeper training he recently volunteered for.
“Gatekeeper training enables you to approach people you feel may be in need and ask the right questions in order to help them”
“The construction industry can be very demanding and workers can be put under many pressures to reach deadlines often with the added pressures of home life. Talking about the pressures we face we can understand we are not alone and we can face them together”
“I think if you are offering time to listen, time to have a conversation without judgement only to offer help it can be so uplifting and empowering for a person in need. It can give them the courage and confidence to face their problems and start a plan to overcome them”
The Gatekeeper program aims to train 10,000 people in suicide prevention and Tony already believes he has made a difference since receiving the training
“Recently I had a conversation with a fellow construction worker that was facing some mental health and financial problems. I listened and we spoke about ways we could address these issues and put a plan in place looking into avenues where we could get help. 2 months down the line and this particular person is in such a better place and getting the help they required. It showed to me and to him that together we can navigate through these kinds of problems”
Master Builders Association is one of the organisations that has partnered with the NSW Government to deliver the Gatekeeper training.
Brix Projects currently works alongside MATES in Construction and 3 team members have completed the connector training to help support those working in the industry.
More information about the program is at health.nsw.gov.au/gatekeeper.
At BriX Projects our first priority is the health and wellbeing of our employees, which is why we have such a strong process in place and are supportive of their needs. But we need you to talk to us and let us know when you’re having problems so we can help.