New survey targets mental health in WA’s construction industry

By Build-it
3 Min Read

The University of Western Australia’s Suicide Prevention and Resilience Research Centre (SPARRC) has launched an Australian-first survey aimed at gaining deeper insights into mental health within the construction industry.

The study, led by SPARRC Business Support Manager and UWA lecturer Michael Kyron in partnership with leading industry suicide prevention organisation MATES in Construction WA, is aimed at understanding the contributing factors to high suicide rates among construction workers.

“Suicidal thoughts and behaviours, psychological distress, substance use and potential risk factors are all things that we are wanting to understand through this research,” Mr Kyron said. 

“By identifying issues, life situations and behaviours that are prevalent within the industry and that are contributing to poor mental health or suicide, the industry will be able to focus its resources on targeted interventions tailored to meet the proven needs of the workforce.”

Mr Kyron said there were many longstanding stigmas around the mental health and behaviour of construction workers, with many workers not feeling comfortable to ask for help when they needed it. 

“Gaining an accurate understanding of how WA compares to the wider Australian population across a range of metrics, will provide a clear reference point for the overall wellbeing of industry and which people within the industry are most in need of further support,” he said.   

The survey is open to all individuals working within the construction industry in WA, including tradespeople and non-trades job roles, with the research team hoping to recruit 10,000 participants from across the state to ensure a representative sample.

CEO of MATES in Construction WA Liam Cubbage, said understanding the psychosocial wellbeing of the construction workforce would provide valuable insights to guide targeted interventions.

“Without a clear understanding of the workforce’s needs, it is challenging to allocate resources effectively to address mental health issues,” Mr Cubbage said.

“By understanding the unique challenges faced by workers across all sectors of the industry, we hope to enable charities, businesses and services to ensure whatever resources are available are used to effectively improve psychosocial outcomes.”

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