Let’s start a conversation: Mental Health Awareness Month

Our Bruce Highway Upgrade team on the Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway (CR2SM) project is making an invisible issue impossible to ignore.

During May, our CR2SM project team is hosting Mental Health Awareness Month to raise awareness about the importance of our mental health – particularly when it comes to relationships, finance, nutrition, fitness and suicide prevention.

Photo: A 'Mates In Construction' Field Officer discussing the importance of suicide awareness with staff.

To shine a light on suicide prevention and awareness, the project has bought Trademutt (PPE) Personal Protective Equipment shirts for all CR2SM employees.

Trademutt is an Australian workwear brand that sells funky PPE clothing as a catalyst to start a conversation about suicide among staff. Its philosophy is to take a more fun and light-hearted approach to the conversation about raising awareness around mental health.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Infrastructure Management and Delivery Deputy Director-General Amanda Yeates is a great supporter of the Trademutt shirts, extending her support to the CR2SM team.

“I have been a supporter of the Trademutt initiative for a while now and appreciate the importance they have in raising awareness for such a significant topic, particularly in this industry,” Ms Yeates said.

“With these shirts, the CR2SM workers will start conversations, not just on site, but within the local community.”

Suicide rates in the construction industry are alarming. According to Mates in Construction (MIC), every year 190 Australians working in the construction industry take their own lives. This means, our young workers are well over two times more likely to take their own lives than other Australian men.

CR2SM Project Director, Brad Thompson, said the shirts also hit a personal note for many on the job.

“Having worked in the industry for a number of years now, I know firsthand how we can all be touched by suicide in some way,” Mr Thompson said.

“It can often be difficult to deal with and talk about, so our Senior Management Team wanted to initiate a way for people to open up, or have the courage to ask their mate if they’re ok. We hope the Trademutt shirts will be a conversation starter.”

In conjunction with Trademutt and MIC, CR2SM hopes to reduce the stigma around discussions about suicide.

MIC is on site all this week to talk to the workforce at pre-starts and encourage workers to have conversations with their mates.

With four ASIST-trained workers and 63 Connectors onsite, CR2SM places a large focus on mental health and suicide prevention.

The CR2SM project is funded on an 80/20 basis with the Australian Government contributing $650.36 million and the Queensland Government contributing $162.59 million.

The project is being delivered by a joint venture between Fulton Hogan and Seymour Whyte on behalf of Transport and Main Roads.

This project is part of the 15-year Bruce Highway Upgrade Program, a $12.6 billion program of works to improve safety, flood resilience and capacity along the Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Cairns. The program is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments, with the Australian Government contributing $10 billion and the Queensland Government contributing $2.6 billion.