Today, the OzHelp Foundation (OzHelp) released a new report It’s tough out there, which brings together important evidence to support a focus on suicide prevention for hard to reach workers in high-risk industries, and how OzHelp’s programs respond to identified areas of concern and need.
OzHelp Chief Executive Officer Darren Black said preventing suicide is a national priority, that men are a priority, and that men that are hard to reach in high-risk industries are more likely to die by suicide than the general population. The statistics highlight this.
In 2020, 2,385 men died by suicide, an average of 7 men per day; 25% of men say they would not seek help from anyone; truck drivers are the second-highest occupation group at risk of suicide, after construction workers; and every second day there is a suicide death in the construction industry.
“The evidence shows that workers in male-dominated, high-risk industries are at higher risk of mental health issues and suicide and that there is a range of risk factors,” Mr. Black said.
“Some of these risk factors relate to the work they do, such as high job demands, social and geographic isolation, being away from home, job insecurity, physical danger, bullying, and access to lethal means. There are also ‘life’ factors such as financial stress, relationship problems, legal problems, and health issues.”
OzHelp’s services and programs recognise the interconnection between suicide prevention; health and wellbeing; and the social determinants of health. It takes support to male-dominated high-risk industries, to workplaces, and communities across Australia.
OzHelp offers help through two program streams, early intervention health screening, and wellbeing education.
“OzHelp’s programs are developed with workers in these industries and provide services on individual’s terms, engaging at a time and in a way that is practical for them without costing large amounts of their time.”
Within the report, OzHelp has identified six key priorities to contribute to better mental health and suicide prevention outcomes for hard to reach workers in high-risk industries.
“For OzHelp this report demonstrates the priority for the work that we do. It’s hard work, difficult work and at the same time extremely rewarding.”
“We are privileged that the employers, communities, and individuals we work with, let us into their workplaces, their communities, give us their trust and work with us to improve health and wellbeing, and ultimately prevent suicide.”