The HIA Charitable Foundation reached a milestone last week, with donations to Beyond Blue reaching $1 million. The Foundation has been committed to advancing Beyond Blue's work in suicide prevention and support across the country. It is a particular priority for the male-dominated residential building industry, which is severely affected by mental health issues.
Donations Fund National Suicide Prevention Projects
The HIA Charitable Foundation has been supporting the work of Beyond Blue since 2014. The organisation is committed to educating the public on mental health and ensuring that people from all walks of life are supported and have access to help when they need it.
“The funds donated to Beyond Blue through the partnership have funded a world first National Suicide Prevention Research Project and, more recently, the Beyond Blue Support Service,” said Pino Monaco, Chairman of the HIA Charitable Foundation.
“It’s been an extraordinarily worthwhile partnership that has developed between Beyond Blue and the Foundation and I will certainly be advocating that it continue for a long time. The need for mental health support is real and growing. HIA members are to be congratulated for recognising this need and responding in such a practical way.”
“The ability of the HIA Charitable Foundation to raise this level of funding with the HIA members is exceptional. It really is a case of the industry coming together to look after one another in the spirit of mateship,” Beyond Blue Deputy Chair, Kate Carnell AO, said.
Men More Likely to Die By Suicide
Mental health problems are a concern for the building industry, which has a male-dominated workforce. “The disturbing reality is that construction workers are more than twice as likely to take their own life as others in the community,” said Mr Monaco.
While females are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. The number of men who die by suicide in Australia every year is nearly double the national road toll.
Suicide is now the number one killer of men aged under 44 years. This is an area of concern for the construction industry, which is a traditionally male dominated industry. Men who work in this sector are 70% more likely to die by suicide than their office or behind-the-desk counterparts. This means that an Australian tradesperson takes their own life every second day.
Beyond Blue has been offering support to Australians for other twenty years. “Beyond Blue is committed to breaking through social barriers that block open and safe discussion of suicide and suicide prevention,” commented Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman. “We know men are more than twice as likely to die by suicide, but are reluctant to seek help if they are having a tough time.”
“Male-dominated workplaces – such as the residential construction industry – have to change their cultures around discussion of mental health and HIA is to be congratulated for stepping up to lead that change.”
Mental Health Challenges Exacerbated by COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns, loss of work, and separation from loved ones has had a profound impact on the mental health of Australians. Those who may have been struggling before have found the last two years particularly difficult.
“Support comes at a time where millions of people across the country, including HIA members, are feeling the impacts of the pandemic. For Beyond Blue, the average monthly demand for services has increased 30 per cent during the pandemic,” Mr Monaco said.
“Managing a business before, during and after a pandemic can cause considerable stress for people and we want to ensure that support is there for them should they need it.”
If you or someone you know needs help, you can speak to the professionals at Beyond Blue today.