Mental health is a social issue with the potential to significantly impact the livelihood of our people and therefore has become an important part of our health and safety agenda.
International research shows the construction industry suffers from higher rates of suicide and mental health issues when compared to other industries.
In Australia, research shows that construction workers are six times more likely to die by suicide than in a workplace accident1.
"A return on investment report conducted by PwC in 2014, concluded that for every dollar spent on mental health in the workplace, $2.30 is saved by the organisation."
Similarly, the construction industry has the highest proportion of suicides across all industries in New Zealand. In 2018, Scentre Group’s New Zealand construction team recognised a gap in mental health programs to support New Zealand construction workers.
In 2016, Scentre Group became an accredited partner of Australia’s Mates in Construction (MIC) program, established in 2008 to reduce the high level of suicide among Australian construction workers. Many of Scentre Group’s Australian construction workers have since been offered MIC training to encourage help-seeking behaviours, raise awareness and help reduce suicide rates.
We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact of Australia’s MIC program on employee and contractor mental health. Our New Zealand construction team has steered the Auckland industry (a region currently experiencing a construction boom) and the MIC Australia team to establish the program in New Zealand.
Scentre Group has formed and chairs an industry steering committee, with all major tier one contractors represented and has led the campaign in raising funds to launch the program in Auckland in 2019. Scentre Group has offered its Westfield Newmarket development as a potential pilot site and intends to offer all staff and contractors the opportunity to participate in the program.
1 Martin, Swannell, Milner & Gullestrup, 2016; Milner, 2016; Roberts, Jaremin & Lloyd, 2013