Queensland’s Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has welcomed the appointment of Darius Boyd as the inaugural Mates in Construction ambassador.
The Broncos captain is keen to get out onto construction sites to talk with workers, especially those struggling with mental health issues.
Minister Grace said the organisation will make a real difference in reducing the incidence of suicide in the construction industry.
“We are so proud to be associated with Mates and now to have Darius on board as an ambassador, it’s just the icing on the cake.
“Darius has been keen to work in the mental health space so the association with Mates is a great fit.
“Construction workers make up a big part of the rugby league community – whether it be players or spectators – and having someone like Darius willing and ready to help is so important.
“I think we are all aware of the issues Darius has confronted on a personal level in the past and he’s been upfront about the importance of reaching out and acknowledging when you need help. I know Darius will make a real difference in this role,” she said.
Minister Grace noted that young tradies have a suicide rate of two to three times higher than the general community and the average age of suicide amongst construction workers in Queensland was just 36 years.
“This government is committed to suicide prevention and to doing all it can to reduce the suicide rate in the construction industry and anything that Darius can do to assist with this is welcome,” she said.
Mates In Construction Acting CEO John Brady said a construction worker commits suicide every second day.
“These instances are mostly preventable,” he said.
“Life is hard and often unfair and that is normal. We can all sometimes get overwhelmed by life whether are a high profile footy star like Darius Boyd or an ordinary construction worker.
“If our mates can learn to pick up the signs of another mate doing it tough and have the courage to ask us if we are struggling, this can be critical to saving someone’s life.
“Men might not be good at asking for directions or help in general, but we are great at looking out for our mates,” said Mr. Brady.
The Queensland Government has awarded Mates in Construction with $ million in funding over 18 months to expand its program into small businesses and rural and remote areas.
“The impact of suicide is devastating, affecting families, work colleagues, communities, service providers and first responder,” said Ms. Grace.
“Our finding will help Mates to spread the message in rural and remote areas – suicide is a workplace issue that we all need to address together.”
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