We’re pleased to announce that MATES in Construction has launched in New Zealand, and even more pleased to announce that Naylor Love is a Premium Partner of the programme. Our Sylvia Park project will be one of the first MATES sites in New Zealand.
MATES in Construction started in Australia in 2008 in response to the over-representation of construction workers in Australia’s suicide toll. We unfortunately find ourselves in the same position in New Zealand, with the construction industry having the highest proportion of suicides across all industries.
“There are so many factors that contribute to suicide risk in the industry, including work-related stress, long hours, job insecurity and things outside work like relationship breakdowns. One of the biggest factors is our men being stoic, and not seeking help. It’s ok to talk to your mates about it.”
Victoria McArthur, General Manager of MATES In Construction NZ
The MATES programme focuses on opening up communication channels, changing on-site culture and improving knowledge of what can be done to prevent suicide. It starts with a one-hour General Awareness induction for all workers on a site, providing the skills to help workers start discussions with someone who may be struggling on-site or even in their community. Volunteers can also be trained as Connectors (trained to help keep someone in crisis safe, while at the same time connecting them to professional help), with some also receiving ASIST advanced intervention training.
The goal is that MATES will eventually reach all of the 300,000 people who work in the New Zealand construction industry. We’re confident that it’s going to make a positive difference to the industry’s culture and willingness to have those essential yet difficult conversations about mental health.