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Tradies breakfast to support mental health in the construction industry

The Bundaberg community has come together to support an industry event to raise awareness of the mental health crisis in the construction industry.

Construction workers are invited to attend a free Tradies BBQ Breakfast on Thursday, September 8 at 7am to 9am at the Kendalls Flat Cricket Grounds, to take a moment to pause and check in with each other.

Now in its second year running, the event coincides with R U OK? Day and MATES in Construction’s Fly the Flag Day and aims to raise awareness of issues in the industry and encourage open conversations around mental health.

Local builders and business owners Amy and Nelson Plowman from Hotondo Homes in Bundaberg, who are organising the event, said they are driven to help improve mental wellbeing in the sector, particularly in the current challenging industry environment.

“We want to raise awareness of the horrific suicide rates of young men in the construction industry,” said Amy Plowman.

“Many of us are still facing immense pressure in our day-to-day work and being able to talk about the challenges and be understood by our workmates makes the hard days matter,” said Nelson Plowman.

As the industry continues to endure unprecedented challenges with increased costs and widespread shortages in materials and trades, the couple said mental health support is important now more than ever.

“It’s important to us as a community to support one another and do what we can to make sure no one feels alone,” said Nelson Plowman.

CEO of MATES in Construction John Brady has also acknowledged the mounting pressures on industry workers.

“While the industry is in a boom in terms of work, for many in the residential sector and smaller commercial sector, it’s a profitless boom for many,” he said.

“With so many factors outside of builder’s normal circle of influence, companies and individuals are challenged in ways they have never experienced before.”

John Brady said community events like the breakfast are invaluable in opening meaningful dialogues around mental health.
“Events like the BBQ breakfast and other such events may seem small, but they raise awareness and allow people to connect. These are simple yet powerful tools,” he said.

“Last year at the breakfast, we had a number of people who made contact with us regarding someone needing help, as well as a number of critical conversations with people who were struggling with issues.”

“The opportunity to be present face to face allows for important conversations to happen and opens the door to help and support.”

MATES in Construction was established in 2008 to reduce the high rate of suicide among Australian construction workers. The suicide prevention charity and training group offers community development programs on sites and support services to workers across the country.

According to research conducted by MATES in Construction, 190 Australians working in the construction industry take their own lives every year.

Their research shows construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work.

“Suicide is not an individual issue, but a community issue and we all need to be involved. Suicide is everybody’s business,” said John Brady.

“Any event that raises awareness around suicide and mental health issues is worthwhile.”

Amy Plowman said the breakfast will offer a great opportunity to connect with mates and provide a listening ear, as well as resources for both tradespeople and businesses in supporting their workers.

“Connecting with other businesses and tradespeople helps us feel like a community,” she said.

“It also feels like we’re in this together and where possible we will do what we can to help each other out.”

The construction industry breakfast will be held from 7am to 9am on Thursday, September 8 at the Kendalls Flat Cricket Ground. All are welcome to attend the free event.

Contact Amy Plowman at Hotondo Homes in Bundaberg on 07 4155 5031 for more details.

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