Make mental health your priority

John GelavisSponsored
Master Builders Executive Director John Gelavis.
Camera IconMaster Builders Executive Director John Gelavis. Credit: The West Australian

I saw many of our members at the recent MATES in Construction Western Australia 10-year anniversary lunch, which was a great example of industry coming together to support mental health in the WA building and construction industry.

I have also personally spoken to many members recently around the state, and I am aware that everyone is feeling the pressure in dealing with the current challenges, including clients looking to complete projects.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the common approach was ‘we are all in this together’, which I hope can be embraced by all within our industry and those engaging our industry.

It is evident that COVID-19 pandemic pressures are taking a toll on the mental health of many in our sector. The confronting facts about our industry’s mental health issues are alarming and often preventable.

Every second day, an Australian builder or construction worker takes their own life. So, I urge all those in our industry to make your physical and mental health a priority. It is a shared responsibility and we can all play our part.

Master Builders Association of WA (MBA WA) has a strong commitment to MATES in Construction and we continue to inform our members about the amazing support they provide and how members can access help.

MATES in Construction is a multi-modal community and industry-based suicide intervention program that raises awareness of suicide as a preventable problem, builds stronger and more resilient workers, connects workers to the best available help and support, and partners with researchers to inform industry around best mental health practice.

MATES in Construction field staff will train workers in the workplace to improve mental health and suicide prevention literacy, increase help-seeking and help-offering behaviours and engage the workforce in creating a mentally safe and supportive environment.

Field officers from MATES in Construction support workplace volunteers to create onsite networks, supporting each other and the worksite in preventing suicide and becoming mentally healthier.

MATES in Construction offers a 24-hour support line and ongoing case management to workers who need help and support, and partners with researchers to inform the industry to affect positive change.

At MBA WA, we are working hard to build a better industry but we can’t do this on our own – we need everyone involved. So, let’s all work together in pursuit of this.

Be kind to yourselves and continue to look after one another.

If you are a building and construction or resources industry worker experiencing a crisis and need immediate support for you or your family, call MATES in Construction’s 24/7 helpline on 1300 642 111 or, in the case of an emergency, call 000.

Alternatively support is available for anyone in the community via a range of providers, including:

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, Lifeline: 131 114, Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

Q&A with MBA Housing and Construction Director Jason Robertson

The Question

I’m currently renovating my home and I am looking to put new insulation in my roof space, most likely ceiling insulation batts.

A friend half-jokingly said it was so easy that I could just throw them up.

I know that’s not the case, any further advice?

The Answer

Insulation – like any building element – needs to be selected, supplied and installed with all due care.

If selected and installed correctly, the insulation will perform as intended, helping to improve energy efficiency by cutting your costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

If installed incorrectly, the ceiling insulation won’t perform well and, most importantly, can present a dangerous situation for anyone entering the roof space, leading to serious injury or worse.

There are several different types of insulation that can be used, ultimately it does depend on several factors, including personal choice.

It is worth mentioning that, whatever type of insulation is selected, it must meet minimum requirements for installation, in addition to meeting relevant standards for energy efficiency and the climate zone.

Installation can be undertaken by the homeowner as a DIY project in certain circumstances or by a suitably qualified and experienced contractor.

There are many things to consider when undertaking the installation and, again, matters of safety are of the utmost importance.

There are very specific requirements for working safely in roof spaces, including residential dwellings.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has helpful information about working in the roof space, as well as the ins and outs of home insulation.

For more information, visit www.commerce.wa.gov.au.

Best of luck with the renovations.

CONTACT Master Builders WA, 9476 9800, www.mbawa.com

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