Male bonding to build mental health

Godfrey Baronie, chief executive of Mates in Construction, an organisation that focuses on mental health in the building industry. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au   d435108
Godfrey Baronie, chief executive of Mates in Construction, an organisation that focuses on mental health in the building industry. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d435108

According to Mates in Construction WA, suicide levels within the construction industry are up to two times higher than in other industries, something which MIC WA is looking to address.

The not-for-profit organisation was formed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of construction workers through training programs and support structures.

MIC WA chief executive and White Gum Valley resident Godfrey Baronie said issues arose in the industry due to factors such as long working hours, a culture of heavy alcohol abuse, bullying and a lack of job security.

�Traditionally, mental health has not been a focus of occupational health and safety measures within the industry; however, with the work of MIC this is gradually changing,� Mr Baronie said.

�Via training, MIC helps create groups of �champions� who promote mental wellness in their workplace and feel confident that they can help people at risk of suicide.

�Having masculine workers feeling more comfortable and willing to have conversations with their mates about important issues, including mental health, is invaluable as it creates pathways to help.�

Mr Baronie said to date, MIC WA had given general awareness training to more than 9000 people in the industry, had more than 600 volunteer to be �connectors� and more than 150 volunteer to undergo applied suicide intervention skills training.

More than 500 workers have used their services since 2011.

Visit www.matesinconstruction.org.au for more information.