Kelm Hire

Partnering for Mental Health Awareness and Support in the Construction Industry

partnering for mental health awareness and support in the construction industry

In a sector central to the development and maintenance of the infrastructure society relies on, strength and resilience are often prized. Unfortunately, in Australia’s high-pressure construction industry, mental health frequently remains an overlooked aspect of the workplace.

According to advocacy group Mates in Construction, individuals working in the construction industry are six times more likely to die by suicide than from a workplace accident, with this crisis rippling out to profoundly affect families and communities connected to these individuals. 

At Kelm Hire, we recognise that along with physical safety, mental health in construction should be held to the utmost importance. We are committed to leading the charge in promoting mental health awareness and support within the industry.

listening | kelmhire

We partner with Mindfull Aus, an organisation dedicated to changing the narrative around mental health in high-risk areas in Australia. Mindfull Aus provides support, education, and resources to promote mental wellbeing, break down stigma, and foster environments where conversations about mental health are not just welcomed but encouraged. We spoke to Matt Runnalls, founder of Mindfull Aus, about their journey, and how they can help. 

Mindfull Aus was founded in 2016, at the time, a loss of six mates to suicide. And I’ve sat at the back of funerals and said, well, if not me, then who? Someone has to change the way that this looks and feels.’ says Matt. ‘But at the time, I was a plumber in the construction industry, and I knew what it was like to hurt myself. I knew what it was like to lose people. And I didn’t really know what else to do, but I just knew that if I said it the way it needed to be said, then maybe I’d make people sit up and pay attention.

listening 1 | kelmhire

Together, we’ll explore the mental health challenges the construction industry faces and how we can work together to tackle them.

Understanding the Mental Health Challenges in the Construction Industry

Mental illness is being expressed largely in these industries because we don’t prioritise mental health. We are going, going, going, deadlines, do this, do that, you’re the male, you’re the provider, all of these unhealthy things that I’ve spoken about that cause us to silence what we’re experiencing and to just move forward and just keep pushing forward.’ Matt says. 

The construction industry’s tough exterior mustn’t mask the mental health issues experienced by its workforce. Long hours, high-pressure environments, and the physically demanding nature of the work can often take a significant toll on mental wellbeing. The stigma surrounding mental health issues in a traditionally ‘tough’ industry can make it difficult for workers to seek help, further exacerbating the problem. Instances of mental illness and suicide are of growing concern in the industry, especially with men between 15 and 44 being the most at-risk group of people in our country.

Acknowledging and addressing these unique challenges is paramount in fostering a supportive environment for construction workers

Meeting | kelmhire

Practical Strategies for Mental Health Support

At Kelm Hire, we’re working hard to prioritise mental health in the construction industry. This involves implementing practical mental wellbeing strategies such as training for managers and supervisors to recognise signs of mental health issues and offer appropriate support. We also ensure accessible professional mental health support for our employees and advocate for work-life balance through appropriate scheduling and regular breaks to reduce stress and prevent burnout. After all, as Matt notes, ‘We’re not human doings. We’re human beings

Kelm Hire’s Commitment to Mental Health

According to Matt, ‘the research shows us that it’s not men that don’t want to talk about their feelings. It’s that people around men don’t hold a space that makes them feel comfortable. Now, where they’re largely dominated by men, this is where we see a lot of incidents occur in the construction industry.’

Kelm Hire is deeply committed to promoting mental health awareness within the construction industry, understanding that mental wellbeing is integral to overall health and workplace efficiency. Our commitment extends beyond just awareness; it’s about creating a supportive and open environment where our employees and clients feel safe to discuss mental health issues and seek support. We understand that fostering mental wellbeing is not just good for our employees; it’s good for our business and the industry at large. Our commitment extends beyond our company, as we advocate for industry-wide initiatives and discussions focused on mental wellbeing.

Future Steps and Ongoing Support

The construction industry’s journey towards better mental health is an ongoing battle. 

‘But it’s a very simple solution.’ Matt notes, ‘The thing that’s killing people in silence needs to be done together, and it needs to be done loudly. And we need to create safe spaces for people to disrupt that idea that we don’t talk about these things, ’. 

Kelm Hire is committed to continually evaluating and improving our strategies to support mental wellbeing. This includes staying updated with the latest mental health research, regularly seeking employee feedback, and adapting our approaches to meet their evolving needs. However, raising mental health awareness in the construction industry requires a collaborative effort. By working together, we can break down the stigma associated with mental health in the construction sector and create a more supportive and understanding work environment.

The importance of mental health in the construction industry cannot be overstated. As a key player in the construction sector, we firmly believe that mental safety and support are as indispensable as the physical safety of the equipment used daily on job sites. At Kelm Hire, we are the preferred trade-focused equipment hire company not simply because of our wide range of products and equipment for hire. But due to our ongoing quest to understand the construction industry and the issues it faces, such as gender diversity and mental health. 

We are deeply committed to playing our part in promoting mental health awareness and providing support to our employees. By integrating mental health into our health and safety protocols and fostering a culture of support, we aim to ensure the well-being of every individual in the construction workforce. Our commitment is unwavering, as we believe a mentally healthy workforce is the foundation of a safe, productive, and thriving construction industry.

Visit the Mindfull Aus website for more information & free resources, and their Facebook page to join the community.

Frequently Asked Questions

Raising mental health awareness in the construction workplace involves educating employees about mental health, providing training on recognising and responding to mental health issues, and creating an open culture where discussing mental health is encouraged and supported. Making mental health a visible part of health and safety in construction.

Mental health awareness cultivates a supportive environment, boosting overall well-being, reducing stress, and enhancing job satisfaction and productivity through prioritised worker support.

Support for construction workers with mental health concerns includes confidential counselling, tailored well-being programs, and access to professional mental health services, fostering a safe environment for initiating discussions and seeking help without stigma.