From left: Mates in Construction Field Officer James Sendall with the Murray Halberg team, outgoing Project Manager Dale Sadler, Wellbeing Coordinator James Earls, new Project Manager Johannes Cronje, Health & Safety Coordinator Denise Chandler, Foreman Karl Drent, Carpenter Eti Aunese and Site Manager Leon van den Berg.
The Murray Halberg construction site in Lynfield has become the first Ryman Healthcare site to achieve Mates in Construction accreditation.
The milestone achievement is proof that the Lynfield team means business when it comes to striving towards good mental health and wellbeing on site, in an industry where suicide rates are shockingly high.
James Sendall, Field Officer for Mates in Construction, presented the accreditation certificate to the Murray Halberg team, and praised them for their efforts in embracing the programme at a time when stress levels were at record levels in the construction industry as a whole.
“There were 607 suicides in New Zealand last year and in our industry it’s about one person every week,” he said. “We’re actually six times more likely to lose someone to suicide than a workplace accident.”
The pandemic had compounded the various stressors that affected construction, with supply and labour shortages adding to the pressures.
Young men aged 20-24 were typically the most at risk, he said.
“It’s a time when they might be leaving home for the first time and going flatting, they’re organising their own finances, there could be a relationship breakdown or maybe they’re getting bullied.
“That’s actually the number one in terms of pressures, especially when you’re young and then you get shouted at when at work and that old school attitude where it’s just ‘get the job done’.”
Mates in Construction is a preventative programme which originated in Australia in 2008, following the Global Financial Crisis. It launched in New Zealand in 2019.
Ryman Healthcare partnered with the not-for-profit organisation in November 2020 in a bid to raise awareness around suicide prevention and to encourage people to check in on their fellow workers.