Shocking suicide rates plaguing one industry sector

A new report has unveiled the shocking impact of suicide on one of Australia's largest industries.

Shocking suicide rates plaguing one industry sector
A new report has revealed that Australian construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work.

According to the report – released by charity Mates in Construction (MIC) – 169 construction workers take their own lives each year, highlighting the need for employers in the industry to support the mental health of their workforces.

The MIC found that suicide and suicidal behaviour is costing the Australian construction industry $1.57bn a year, almost all of which is within the public sector.

Since being released, the report has been publicised by the Queensland government’s workplace health and safety division, which claimed that the annual cost within the state alone is over $345bn.

The report’s authors said that its findings demonstrate the need for greater investment in training construction workers to recognise if a colleague is mentally unwell.

According to a report by a Scottish government agency, suicides and suicide attempts have multiple adverse financial effects on the worker’s family, employer and government, which are caused by several factors including production disturbance, human capital, medical, and administrative costs.

These costs can reportedly take several years to finalise.

The MIC has trained over 87,000 construction workers to recognise the signs of a mental illness, and has set up a network of over 7,000 volunteer ‘connectors’.

Mental health is a greater issue than many realise, the MIC said, which requires an industry-led approach.

The organisation has set a target of a 15% reduction in the Australian suicide rate over the next five years.

Australia has more than 750,000 construction workers – 85,000 of whom have been reached by the MIC to date.

If you or anyone you know is suffering with a mental health issue, contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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