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MATES, Stronger Together
MATES, Stronger Together

Submitted by MATES in Construction:

MATES in Construction has only been in existence since November 2019, but the industry response to the implementation of our suicide prevention programmes has been overwhelmingly positive.

New Zealand is very good at postvention and looking at what happens after a suicide. We all gather together to support whanau and the people who have been affected by the suicide but, what we aren't so good at, is going back to the beginning and determining what would have helped prevent suicide in the first place.

MATES is a suicide prevention programme and addresses a worker's struggles early and connects them to help.

Poor mental health or mental illness is not always a predisposition to someone taking their life. Fifty-two per cent of those who we lose to suicide had no known history of mental illness. What we do know is suicide can be caused by being unable to cope with whatever is going on in your life at that time.

People may have poor mental health due to depression or anxiety, but the stress that comes from life's daily struggles is a reason that people consider taking their own life. Other things that move people towards the tipping point are being unable to cope with bullying, alcohol, drugs, a poor lifestyle, societal factors including poverty or low education and financial pressures.

When we go onto a worksite, we run a General Awareness Training programme for all workers. We talk about suicide, the effect that it's having on the industry, and then look at the things that may be contributing to a change in worker's behaviour. Then we move on to one of the essential parts of our training. Once behavioural changes have been identified that may point toward a mate is struggling or having thoughts around suicide, we need to know what to do next.

MATES talks about how to navigate that path and gives them the tools to understand how to get there. MATES is building capacity on-site with a whole-of-community approach. We make sure everyone has the skills and tools in their toolbelt to help a mate or seek help themselves.

On Thursday, 27th of May, join MATES Field Officers Richie and Ben as they deliver the General Awareness Training programme to attendees at the breakfast organised by our friends at Ara Rau.

For more information and to sign up for the event, click here.