September 14th marked the annual RUOK Day, a day dedicated to promoting mental well-being, encouraging conversations about mental health, and reminding everyone to check in with their mates. The importance of its message resonated profoundly with many, including our team who attended this year’s RUOK Catch-up organised by the City of Moreton Bay Council (formerly known as the Moreton Bay Region Council MBRC.
RQC Group, among several other in attendance, emphasised their commitment to mental health awareness in the workplace. A particular highlight of the event was the eye-opening speech by Mark Thistleton from ‘Mates in Construction.’
Thistleton shared some sobering statistics that threw a spotlight on the urgent need for mental health initiatives within the construction industry:
- Every year, 190 Australians in the construction sector lose their battle with mental health, culminating in the tragic fact that we lose a construction worker to suicide every other day.
- Alarmingly, construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than from an on-site accident.
- For younger workers in the industry, the numbers are even more distressing. They are over twice as likely to take their own lives compared to other young Australian men.
These figures highlight the critical need for intervention, education, and support. Recognising this, RQC Group have made a proactive commitment to initiate stage one for several of their employees: the GAT General Awareness Training.
The GAT is designed to be administered to at least 80% of site workers collectively, right at their work location. This training is aimed at demystifying mental health discussions. It educates workers about the gravity of the issue, reaffirms that it’s okay to talk about mental health struggles, and importantly, provides actionable guidance on how workers can lend support to their colleagues.
RUOK Day may be just one day on the calendar, but the conversations it starts and the ripple effects of events like the one at MBRC can have a lasting impact. As we take active steps towards creating a mentally healthier work environment, there’s hope that the construction industry can turn these grim statistics around.
You can learn more about this vital program on the Mates in Construction website.
Remember, a simple question like “Are you okay?” can make all the difference. Let’s ensure we continue to ask, listen, and support each other every day.