MATES on hand to offer support at Montario Quarter

22 Mar 2018

  • LandCorp partners with civil works contractor RJ Vincent to introduce mental health awareness training for workers at Montario Quarter
  • The MATES in Construction training initiative helps address the high rate of suicide and mental health issues in the construction industry and provides support
  • Construction workers at LandCorp's Montario Quarter will be encouraged to talk about and tackle mental health issues as part of a new wellbeing training initiative.

In collaboration with civil works contractor RJ Vincent, LandCorp is introducing the MATES in Construction (MATES) program which aims to raise awareness of mental health, well-being and the high suicide rate in the construction industry.

MATES research reveals that each year, 190 Australians working in construction take their own life and that construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work.

MATES' mission is to prevent the high suicide rate in construction, as well as supporting workers and their immediate families with their mental health and well-being concerns through integrated training programs and providing easy access to practical and professional help.

LandCorp chief executive Frank Marra said the training program placed a strong emphasis on well-being.

"We are proud to be working with MATES and RJ Vincent to introduce this important initiative for the first time on a LandCorp development," Mr Marra said.

"Mental health is something people often find hard to address, especially in the workplace, and we want to change that.

"We need to create a place where people feel comfortable to speak up and address mental health issues in an open and supportive environment."

General Awareness Training (GAT) will be available to all project staff at Montario Quarter. More extensive Connector training will also be provided for RJ Vincent staff. This gives practical advice on how to help someone experiencing everyday life issues affecting their mental well-being and how to connect them to appropriate professional and community services.

Established in 2008 to reduce the level of suicide among Australian construction workers, the MATES team has worked extensively with the building construction industry in Western Australia.

MATES in Construction WA Operations Manager Chrissie Fearon, said that while MATES have previously collaborated with other civil construction companies, this is the first occasion that the program will be provided for a land development organisation.

"This project is a great opportunity for MATES to broaden its reach into the wider spectrum of the civil construction industry, and we are proud to be associated with this project," she said.

"The MATES program provides the framework to up-skill workers to understand what to look for in their co-workers who may be doing it tough, know how to assist them and keep them safe or quickly connect them to help.

"The program raises awareness, reducing stigma and providing a safe and supportive environment for them to speak out and get easy and timely access to help. It is about mates helping mates."

Montario Quarter is being developed on the 15.8 hectare site of the former Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital, which holds significant historical and social value. It will offer inner-city urban living, bringing vibrancy back to the area while reflecting the heritage of the hospital.

The development is set to include 1,100 new apartments and townhouses, a village shopping precinct and public open space covering 25% of the estate, including bushland walking trails, parklands and a Nature Play area.

Mr Marra said LandCorp hopes to extend the training to other projects.

"We're already looking at opportunities to roll out this initiative across other LandCorp developments," he said.

"We look forward to working collaboratively with MATES to continue to provide this important well-being program for our staff, contractors and their families."

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