Australia's 3rd Largest Economy

Mental Health in Construction: The Conversation We Can No Longer Avoid

06-May-2020 13:00 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

Australia’s Construction sector is one of the country’s leading industries in terms of growth, employment and profitability, but it has also been identified as one of the highest occupational risk groups for suicide.*

Talking about suicide can prevent suicide. So too can categorising the shame around mental health and encouraging open forums of communication in the workplace, or on the job site.

It’s time to break the cycle of mental health in the construction industry and here are 3 simple ways we at Interior Construction Group address the topic, show compassion to our team and build a trusted network for people to speak up and show up:

1. Minimising stress through a 3-step process

Stress is one of the leading causes of human illnesses. Minimising stress is essential to mental, physical and emotional well-being and when it comes to construction, our process includes:

Planning → Managing → Helping

Planning ensures the overall scope of work and associated methods are considered early on, providing an overall overview; Managing ensures time is executed effectively, avoiding overworking and burnout; and Helping is the involvement of cross-departmental teams to assist one another, rather than drowning individuals with work… that’s right, we collaborate.

2. Utilise technology

We often come across the non-physical items to alleviate stress, but nowadays, we should make use of the automation available to us.

With today’s tech evolution, the systems and software in place play a big role in efficiency. Managing projects, communicating with stakeholders and implementing project management tools are a valuable way daily processes are streamlined - saving time and energy.

3. Open spaces, open forums

With an open-plan office, and a “door always open” philosophy, our approach is centred around welcoming open platforms of communication through trust and transparency. In engaging in team bonding activities, weekly check-ins and community involvement initiatives, we’re built on solid foundations that encourage our team to express how they feel, raise concerns they may have or simply to show gratitude for anything and everything they’d like.

These simple steps play a big role in our daily experiences, and have proven to be successful and helpful in our workplace. The most important thing to take away from this is to first address that mental health is a concern, we all have a right to a workplace to be happy and as businesses, we have a responsibility to create a workplace, culture and environment that fosters this.

Joe Taouk

General Manager, Interior Construction Group

*Source: A Longitudinal Assessment of Two Suicide Prevention Training Programs for the Construction Industry, International Journal of Environmenal Research and Public Health 2020

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