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Bluehats give the suicide prevention program the thumbs up

Posted on Jan 22, 2024

Construction workers have spoken about the benefits of being a ‘Bluehat’ on-site.

In an independent evaluation, volunteers in our ‘Bluehats’ program shared their thoughts.

“Participants... reported high levels of motivation and capability thanks to the Bluehats training,” the report said.

Being able to support colleagues onsite helped volunteers to feel motivated and satisfied.

What workers get out of being a bluehat

It can be very rewarding to see someone in such a dark place and then to see them a month later, it's [a] very rewarding job. To know that you have personally sat him down and spoken to him… [that] you've put them on to the right person.

Bluehats Volunteer

What the report found

Monash University's evaluation involved interviews with 22 trained Bluehat volunteers. These volunteers provide support to workers experiencing mental health challenges onsite.

The study shows how to best support workers’ mental health which is a major challenge for the industry.

In Australia, construction workers are 84 per cent more likely to die by suicide. This only increases for younger and less-skilled workers.

The report also said that “workplaces that provided adequate time and space for conversations, where management actively promoted mental health and Bluehats, and Incolink maintained an active presence, were optimal.”

Since the Bluehats program began in 2018 over 7000 workers have taken part in a general awareness session.

Following the general awareness session, 300 have volunteered to complete the training, and are now equipped to support others onsite.

Attitudes around mental health have also changed in the industry. With conversations about stress and mental health onsite becoming more regular after the pandemic.

Incolink CEO Erik Locke said the study shows the value of the ‘Bluehats’ program onsite.

“Bluehats provides a safety net to workers struggling with mental health but there is more the industry can do to tackle this issue. We all have a role to play in addressing this mental health crisis.”

Access the report

You can read the report in full here.

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