Every year, 190 Australians who work in the construction industry take their own lives. That’s one every second day.
Winslow Constructors are raising awareness of mental illness within the construction industry with a huge Hitachi ZX360 excavator and painting it the signature blue of leading support group Beyond Blue.
This new initiative addresses the stark fact that construction workers suffer amongst the highest rates of suicide of any occupation in Australia – over twice as likely as in any other industry*.
Trevor Lockwood, CEO, Winslow commented: “We continue to hear very sobering stories about the toll mental illness takes on the civil construction industry, and as an industry leader we have decided to tackle this critical issue head on. At Winslow we want to ensure every one of our employees is able to go home after work both physically and mentally fit. So it’s vital for them, and their families, that we head mental illness off at the pass wherever possible, and ‘Big Blue’ is just one way we wish to encourage our staff to take action if they find themselves anxious, depressed or even suicidal.”
The arrival of the Hitachi excavator ’Big Blue’ to Winslow’s Rathdowne by Villawood site (Wollert) on Tuesday 15 May 2018 (see launch details below) marks the launch of a powerful initiative by Winslow. Former AFL player Danny Frawley will speak on the topic of depression and the work he is doing in this space.
Mr Lockwood continued: “Over the years, we have provided training and support to our staff in the area of depression and mental well-being, but felt we needed a bigger ice-breaker to boost awareness in what is primarily a male-dominated industry where people think all they need is to be ‘tough and resilient’”.
“It doesn’t matter how tough or resilient someone is, anyone can still be assailed by anxiety or depression.”
Mates in Construction, a charity set up specifically to address suicide prevention in the construction industry, have the stats to back up Winslow’s initiative. According to their research, “every year 190 Australians who work in the industry take their own lives – that’s one every second day”.
Throughout 2018, and with help from Beyond Blue, Winslow will provide employees with greater access to resources, and improved support networks and fundraising through some positive initiatives.
Beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said, “We are thrilled that Winslow recognise the importance of talking about this tough topic to improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce, and for taking a big step in the right direction.
“I can’t wait to see the ‘Big Blue’ in action onsite, generating awareness as it works away. We’re very thankful to organisations like Winslow for their support and demonstrating it in such a visually impactful and dramatic way.”
Added Trevor Lockwood, “We are grateful to Hitachi for their involvement and letting us paint their excavator. Hopefully the new colour can remind everyone – even just one person – that if they are having a difficult time, they are not alone at Winslow, there is always help, and always somewhere to turn.
“As ‘Big Blue’ makes its rounds to various Winslow projects during the year, it will hopefully keep mental health at the front of our workers minds and encourage people to talk and reach out. That’s what Big Blue symbolises, because nothing, ultimately, is as important as the safety, health and the well-being of our workforce”.
Campaign launch details
Time: 10am Tuesday 15 May
Location: Winslow’s Rathdowne by Villawood site, Craigieburn Road East, Wollert The giant Big Blue excavator will be on display
Speakers: Former AFL player Danny Frawley; Winslow Executive General Manager, Rohan Davidson; Beyond Blue Acting Head of Fundraising, Jenny Clarke; and Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan.
Further information on the campaign and support programs for families and staff can be found at winslow.com.au/bigblue
Mental health professionals are available 24/7 at the beyondblue Support Service on 1300 22 4636. Web chat is also available at beyondblue.org.au/getsupport
* National Coronial Information System (NCIS)