An ambition to combat the enormous toll of suicides in the building and construction industry has motivated the PlaceMakers Foundation to get behind MATES in Construction, in a partnership that will see their critical work extended nationwide.
The PlaceMakers Foundation supports initiatives that make a lasting difference, and with a core pillar of community wellness at the heart of the Foundation, the partnership provides a platform to prevent suicides through workplace-focused programmes that have been found to be effective interventions.
Last year 654 people died by suicide, with an increase in the Maori and Pasifika population contributing to suicide numbers, a demographic heavily represented across the construction industry.
Thanks to a substantial grant from the Foundation along with in-store fundraising in September, aligned with World Suicide Prevention Month, MATES can extend their work beyond major centres.
In-person support, information and training will be rolled out in the PlaceMakers network of 62 stores around New Zealand, along with their eight Frame and Truss plants.
MATES in Construction chief executive Victoria McArthur says the chance to enhance and expand their work through the partnership will have a huge impact in reaching more people who desperately need support.
“The construction industry continues to have the highest number of suicides across all industries in this country, so it’s vital that we have a partner like PlaceMakers who share our dedication to well-being in the workplace, making it ok to ask for help, and creating communities of people who can support each other,” McArthur says.
“The opportunity to scale up thanks to this generous partnership will truly have a life-changing effect for the thousands more tradies we can now connect with.”
PlaceMakers chief executive and Foundation chair Bruce McEwen says getting as many people as possible behind MATES will create a force for change.
“Suicide has become all too common in our industry, and the devastating ripple effect it can cause has driven us to get engaged” McEwen says.
“We interact with thousands of people every day, so by getting our teams and customers behind MATES in Construction we’re looking to drive increased awareness and make long-lasting positive change.”
From informational signage in stores, to informative Trade Breakfast presentations, to building capability amongst branch staff to recognise people who need help, PlaceMakers will be activating a number of initiatives alongside MATES in Construction to help improve mental health and prevent suicide in the industry.