Riding to fight suicide among construction workers


Suicide rates are 80% higher in construction workers than the general working age population. Stock Image: Mitch Hodge

A record number of people are expected to take part in a charity ride to raise awareness about high suicide rates among construction workers.

Master Builders WA are teaming up with not-for-profit charity MATES in construction WA to host its 8th annual Ride Against Suicide event on May 1.

More than 190 construction workers take their lives nationally every year – the equivalent to a life lost every second day.

Building is still a male-dominated industry and Mates in Construction WA CEO Liam Cubbage said that workers find it difficult to discuss their feelings and emotions with colleagues.

“We support 100,000 construction workers, and the small amount of funds we receive don’t cover this,” Mr Cubbage said.

“The money from this ride will allow us to provide more training on sites and will supplement the cost of individual case management.”

“The Ride Against Suicide is also a great opportunity to spread what MATES in construction do to the wider community and raise awareness about suicide and depression amongst our construction workers.”

Master Builders WA executive director John Gelavis said mental health was a serious problem in the industry.

“Anxiety, depression, and suicide is a really big issue in the building and construction industry,” Mr Gelavis said.

“We are lucky enough to not only be incorporating motorcycles but also road pushbikes to raise important funds for the building and construction industry.”

Former Master Builders Western Australia president Robert Shaw recognised the impact of Covid-19 on suicide rates but acknowledged the higher rate of suicide amongst construction workers.

“This year, obviously with Covid in the last 12 months, it has been tough, not only on people in general but in our construction industry,” Mr Shaw said.

“our average is higher than the overall community, so we want to raise awareness and bring people along for the journey.”

The route for the Ride Against Suicide is expected to be released in the next week however, no road closures are expected.

Anyone struggling with their mental health is urged to seek help by calling MATES 24/7 hotline on 1300 642 111 or in cases of emergency 000.