Posted December 04, 2015 20:01:21

A suicide prevention organisation established in Canberra 13 years ago right after the deaths of 3 young constructing business apprentices is now assisting guys on worksites across the country, from the Pilbara to Wollongong.

The non-profit OzHelp Foundation provides workplace health checks and instruction in traditionally male industries such as building and mining.

Sam Edwards, the managing director of Wollongong-based Edwards Constructions, mentioned they are trying out the plan on their larger building websites.

“We typically pair it with a barbecue or something like that,” he said.

“The guys will come and have a sausage sandwich and then have a chat about their overall health and have some tests accomplished.”

Edwards Constructions is involved in a $ 15 million renovation of the Wollongong Courthouse such as all the courtrooms and cells.

Forty to 50 males work on the web site each and every day.

Recently several of them volunteered for a “Tradies Tune Up”.

Their initial appointment was in a lunch shed with OzHelp’s regional coordinator Julianna McDonald who measured waists and weight.

Then she asked about drinking and smoking, and depression awareness.

Photo of trade worker John Vinson and nurse Rachecl Mills. Photo: Rachel Mills from OzHelp performs a well being check on trade worker John Vinson. (Brendan Trembath)

Ms McDonald explained to every single worker how the sessions were confidential, except in unique cases.

“If you are at risk to yourself or somebody else, obviously we’ve got to keep you and them safe,” she mentioned.

High blood pressure is yet another red flag.

“If you head into the nurse and your blood stress is by means of the roof then we can’t let you go back on website,” she stated.

Tradie Paul Regan was complete of confidence following his verify up.

“I’m 60 years old and match as a Mallee bull,” he stated.

OzHelp chief executive Tony Holland mentioned the ultimate aim of the 20-minute well being checks is stopping suicides.

“That’s our company,” he stated.

“But if we go into a worksite and place a banner up and say ‘we’re the suicide people’ there’s not numerous men and women going to want to run to the front of the queue.”

Health checks break the ice

Mr Holland said 98 per cent of men and women they see said the system was effective or worthwhile.

“About 15 per cent minimize alcohol, 6 per cent cease smoking, 43 per cent of people go to their doctor inside 3 months,” he mentioned.

The foundation receives about $ 1.3 million a year from the Federal Department of Health and $ 700,000 from the ACT nearby government.

Mr Holland said men can uncover it hard to speak about their problems.

“Males definitely do have considerable challenges in relation to work pressures, especially in the creating sector,” he said.

“There is lengthy hours difficult situations, high pressure and so they are beneath the pump all the time.”

He added there were usually drug and alcohol issues.

“What we’re attempting to do is to truly attempt and find approaches to connect with them, to aid them consider about how they can do issues differently.”

24-hour phone counselling

Subjects: suicide, operate, mental-health, creating-and-construction, wollongong-2500

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