April 15, 2021
Help offered for construction industry suicides
A mental health advocacy group is tackling a high suicide rate among Māori builders.
MATES in Construction offers on-site training and support.
Field officer Richie Hepi says construction workers are five times more likely to die from suicide than a work accident.
They have to contend with long working hours, a culture of heavy drinking, bullying and a lack of job security.
He says the mostly male workers may feel unable to talk about their problems and feelings, which is where MATES steps in.
"We work on a formula and I call it the four Cs – connection, communication, collaboration and working as a collective – and if we can notice that stuff, if we can use those simple tools like asking people if they need help but also following through, that's the big thing," Mr Hepi says.
Of the 654 people who took their own lives last year, 157 were Māori, 471 were male and 119 were rangatahi.
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