Master Builders Victoria is helping lead a campaign encouraging tradies to look after themselves and each other. 

MBV members will this week have access to a series of awareness videos, produced in conjunction with non-profit mental health service Hope Assistance Local Tradies (HALT), to mark R U OK? Day tomorrow. 

The online learning modules focus on topics including suicide prevention, gambling, drugs and alcohol and how to recognise the signs of poor mental health.

Master Builders Victoria CEO Michaela Lihou says protecting the health and wellbeing of tradies remains a priority.

“We know the current pressures of the building and construction industry can take a personal toll,” Ms Lihou says.

“Master Builders Victoria remains committed to raising awareness about the signs of mental health fatigue and ensuring employers and employees understand the support which is available to them.

“R U OK? Day is a great platform to raise awareness for an important cause – though, importantly, every day is an opportunity to ask somebody, R U OK?” 

Every year 190 Australians working in the construction industry take their own lives – that’s one construction worker every two days[1].

Ms Lihou says the state government’s previous budget allocation of $3.9 million over four years to develop and deliver an apprentice mental health training program went some way to help – but a broader approach was still needed.

“MBV welcomes this investment but given our sector has one of the highest suicides rates, we believe additional and ongoing funding will ensure more lives are saved.

“This is particularly important as the sector continues to navigate supply volatility and the impacts of a restricted workforce.”

HALT co-founder Jeremy Forbes says additional funding for mental health courses targeting tradies, many who worked solo, would compliment the tangible work being done across the sector. 

“It needs to be a top-down and bottom up approach,” he says.  “Everybody can be a part of the education and training.

“We are telling the men and women out there that we know what it’s like – we have lived experience – and here are the steps forward.

“We want to be able to give tradies skills that will save their lives.”

He says an embedded quarterly course available to private contractors could be another step to helping reduce the toll of lost lives and complement the important work HALT is doing on worksites across the state.   

“We know the major issues facing the building and construction sector and there is a multitude of things that somebody could be struggling with so to be able to focus on those issues – it would be life-saving.”

More information about mental health support can be found here.

Find out more about HALT here.


[1] Source: Mates in Construction