Why Construction Companies Need to Think About Mental Health

First aid - 25 May 2023

In Australia, the construction industry is facing a grim reality, 190 construction workers* take their own lives each year.

Shockingly, construction workers are six times more likely to die by suicide than from a workplace injury. 

These overwhelmingly high statistics highlight the urgent need for addressing mental health concerns within the industry.

Mental illness is a leading cause of disability, death, and suffering in Australia, with one in five Australians experiencing symptoms of common mental illnesses like depression or anxiety each year.

In response to this alarming trend, St John Ambulance Queensland has proudly partnered with Construction Skills Queensland to offer a free Mental Health First Aid course aimed at promoting better mental health among eligible staff who work on construction sites.

The unique Better Mental Health in Construction course is targeted at the construction companies in Australia and grounded in evidence-based research, ensuring its effectiveness and impact. 

The course curriculum is developed based on insights gathered from real-world application. With the overarching goal of the course to provide participants with simple strategies to recognise and respond to common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, and substance use disorders.  

The course also focuses on promoting a mentally healthy workplace and provides individuals with the skills to respond to suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

Notably, O’Brien Glass recently collaborated with St John Ambulance Queensland to provide an abridged version of the Mental Health First Aid Training, tailored to 68 of its national leaders.

St John was brilliant to work with, their flexibility, adaptability, and support to put together a program was exceptional. 

The instructor who delivered the training was well received and our leaders found the sessions valuable. Leaders were able to walk away with better knowledge of mental illnesses and what to do in a critical incident.  

At a time in society where mental health is more important than ever, O’Brien has appreciated to subject matter expertise that St John was able to facilitate. I would personally recommend this program to any organisation that is looking to invest in mental health awareness and training”. 

Janie Schulkes, Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing, O’Brien Glass.  

To combat changing work rosters St John Ambulance Queensland’s Better Mental Health in Construction course offers both group training and private options where flexibility is an option.  And why is it important? It’s not just physical health required now, so many Australia’s have lived experiences with Mental Health which is why this specialised health course is so crucial.  

By acknowledging the mental health challenges prevalent within the construction industry and taking proactive measures to address them, companies can make a significant impact on the well-being and lives of their employees.  

* The figure regarding construction worker suicides in Australia was sourced from Mates in Construction, also published by Deakin University.