Mental health strategy: an important addition to the tradies toolbox

It seems that with each year, our collective focus on mental health grows. The burgeoning concern for the mental welfare of Australians is a direct response to an overall suicide rate that is higher than the numbers reported a decade ago.

As those who have lost a loved one to suicide can attest, there are no words to convey how painful this experience is.

Suicide doesn’t just hurt. It doesn’t just bruise.

It’s got the horsepower of a freight train. The after-effects of a storm. The horror left in its wake can be noted in real, tangible ways. Alternatively, the impacts of suicide can happen under the surface. Like looking at a cyclone from the top, you’d never know the destruction wreaked below.

In Australia, men are three times more likely to commit suicide than females.[1]

88.3% of employees in Australia’s construction industry are men.[2]

86.3% of workers in Aussie mining jobs are men.

There’s never been a better time to open up conversations, build a workplace culture that is inclusive and to turn those tentative social plans into actual happenings. This is for two reasons. The first, being that knock-offs are the best part of Friday. The second being that natural support networks have been proven to make an undeniably beneficial role in contributing to good mental health.[3]

The construction industry already has a culture of mateship which includes workers keeping an eye on the safety of their mates in the workplace. Recently, a poster initiative has been developed between two industry leaders to apply this “watch your mates” ethos to mental health.

In a collaboration between Target Tradies and The Black Dog Institute, a campaign will be rolled out over September with a focus on delivering a collection of posters encouraging good mental health practice.

In clever quips with meaningful messages, the posters are designed to encourage conversations about mental welfare and remind those suffering through the throes of poor mental health that there is always help, always support and always a better day.

Speaking to Industry Update, Target Tradies founder, Michael Blumberg, says he is excited to be sharing the importance of this message with Australian worksites.

“As a company, we are committed to improving awareness of physical and mental wellbeing of workers onsite. We hope that through campaigns like this, more in the industry will see how we can improve onsite safety and come on board with this great initiative,” he says.[4]

Your workplace can get involved by going to: www.targettradies.com.au.

Posters or no posters, the issue of male mental health isn’t one to be ignored. We need to look out for our mates, check-in, go for that beer that we keep putting off when life just gets too busy. Be present.

Let’s work towards breaking down the stigma around mental health.

Our mates are worth it. 

Written by Amelia Fynes-Clinton for Globe Group

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, there’s always help. Consider reaching out to one of these services.


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of Death, Australia, 2016, cat no. 3303.0, ABS, Canberra, 2017, www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3303.0Main+Features62016?OpenDocument viewed 06 September 2018.

[2] Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Gender Composition of the Workforce: by Industry, WGEA, Canberra, April 2016, https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/Gender%20composition-of-the-workforce-by-industry.pdf, viewed 06 September 2018.

[3] N Sidebothom, Building a Good Life: The Role of Natural Supports in Recovery from Mental Illness,Anglicare Tasmania, 2014, https://www.anglicare-tas.org.au/research-library/report/building-good-life, viewed 06 September 2018.

[4] Industry Update, ‘Poster Campaign Targets Mental Health Issues on Site’, Industry Update, September 2018, available from https://www.industryupdate.com.au/article/poster-campaign-targets-mental-health-issues-site, viewed 06 September 2018.