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PlaceMakers Christchurch Teams Up With Mates In Construction To Target Mental Health.

Right now the construction industry is facing some significant challenges. This has been amplified with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic which has also caused some crippling supply shortages, and a real scarcity of builders and tradespeople. Customer demand for construction has not slowed which is leading to a perfect storm.

These factors all create stress and anxiety on the people, the business owners and their families in an industry that already has the highest suicide rate in New Zealand. Research tells us that we are losing one person per week in the construction industry.

We acknowledge that this impact is on people lives, not only those that we have lost to suicide, but those that have suffered the pain of losing loved ones.

PlaceMakers Christchurch are teaming up with Mates in Construction to hold an event for our building community, to talk about what is happening, and how we can learn some new skills to look after our mates, our whanau, and our businesses.

The event is taking place on Monday 24th January, at PlaceMakers Riccarton from 5pm.

Grant Close, Owner Operator of PlaceMakers Christchurch said “Our goal is that no one from our community is lost to suicide in 2022. We want to equip our customers and staff with the best skills, resources and connections to alleviate the stresses placed on them”

“Builders are asked to do a lot of amazing things, but it is a tough, tough industry and we need to be doing more to help our people”

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Mates in Construction is in the process of recruiting, and has just taken on a fulltime Christchurch based Field Officer, Charlie Munns. Charlie is dedicated to working with people and businesses to embed the programme into our working lives. That presence includes both training and support. This includes toolbox talks, presence at site events, regular visits to the site office and to be generally available to talk to any workers that need the support of a mate.

Victoria McArthur, CEO of Mates in Construction said “Suicide is not about mental illness, it’s about mental distress. This is the point where the pain becomes so great that you feel you can’t go on – the tipping point. MATES will help build our construction community and equip them with the tools to reach out for help, offer help and also know when they need to accept a mates help. We will become stronger together.”

“To date, we have trained over 20,000 construction workers across NZ, we still have a long way to go, but early research is showing the programme is changing that stoic behaviour and the industry is embracing MATES.

Victoria said “We love our partnership with PlaceMakers because they are working directly with our workers every day. You really know your community and will notice when someone is not doing too well, MATES will give you the tools to take 10 seconds of courage to help a mate. We are looking forward to this event and very grateful for this partnership.”

“We want people to know its ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to do nothing about it”

Colin Gower from BDO will also be speaking about keeping track of business financial health, and will have a Business Resilience Health Check available for builders to take away.

Speakers will include:

  • Mates in Construction - Real tools to help your team deal with challenges
  • Grant Close, PlaceMakers Christchurch - Supply chain update
  • Matt Doocey - National Party spokesperson for Mental Health
  • Colin Gower, BDO - Financial health checks for your business


Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions for large events, a valid My Vaccine Pass is required to attend this FREE event.

About Mates in Construction:

The MATES programme builds and strengthens communities in the workplace and across the industry – helping our people to be supportive and provide an environment that encourages positive wellbeing.

The impact of this community-based approach then goes beyond the workplace and into our every-day lives.

MATES engage with workers through on-site training and providing those identified as at risk with case management support that connects them to suitable professional support.

MATES Field Officers are trained in suicide intervention skills and have experience with the Building and Construction Industry. This allows them to engage easily with the workers on site.

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