Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Australian men and varies by occupational and workplace factors. Construction workers are at significant elevated risk compared to men in other workplace contexts. To address this MATES in Construction have designed and implemented a comprehensive, multi-modal suicide prevention program across several Australian states.
To inform ongoing suicide prevention efforts, and to provide an evidence base for targeted workplace mental health literacy, analysis of National Coronial Information Service was undertaken to determine industry specific suicide rates from 2001-2019. This is a significant report, providing novel, industry specific information around key suicide statics in Australia. The report provides key insights into suicide mortality rates currently not reported by Government entities.
- From 2001 to 2019 there were 4,143 deaths by suicide within the construction industry, accounting for a quarter of all suicides within Australia.
- When the number of people working within the construction industry is taken into account, suicide rates are double that of non-construction workers (26 compared to 13 out of every 100,000).
- Suicide is more likely to occur in younger age groups within the construction industry. The number of construction workers who have died by suicide under the age of 45 years is 11.6% higher than non-construction workers of the same age group.
- Despite these statistics, a significant decrease of suicide mortality has been observed within the construction industry compared to non-construction workers over time. This may indicate that prevention strategies like MATES, may be having a significant positive impact on suicide mortality within the industry.
- In some states where there is a strong MATES presence suicide mortality rates are now inline with suicide rates for non-construction workers.