Success stories

Outpatients Site achieves Mates in Construction Accreditation

May 9th was a pretty special day on the New Dunedin Hospital Outpatient Building site.

Chief Executive of Mates in Construction, John Chapman, was visiting to present the team with their MATES Accreditation.

Mates in Construction is a national charity working to reduce suicide in the construction industry, and they’ve been in partnership with the New Dunedin Hospital since the start of the project. Working alongside industry partners, MATES aim is to ignite hope by lifting workers’ capacity to recognise when they or someone they know may be at risk of suicide, and to support each other to reach out for help. Accreditation is awarded when a site has met the Awareness, Connection and Intervention Skills criteria. This includes 80%of the workers on site completing General Awareness Training, one in 20 having volunteered to take the next step and become a Connector, and at least one Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) volunteer across the site.

The Outpatient Building site is one of the largest in the South Island to achieve MATES Accreditation.

“It’s a really significant milestone for us,” says MATES Field Officer Fletcher Kaan. “We know the construction industry has one of the highest suicide rates, and many of the workers here are away from their homes and support networks. A big part of what MATES does is to make sure people feelable to ask to help, or to talk to someone who seems to be in distress. We’ve seen huge changes in the culture here because of the training and support MATES offers onsite.”

John Chapman agrees saying:

“It takes a whole village to keep everyone safe, and that’s why we recognise sites that achieve this level of training. When people look out for each other and notice if someone is struggling, they can offer that spark of hope that sets someone on a path to getting some help.”

The MATES team aren’t resting with this win. To keep their accreditation active, they need to make sure that new workers complete the training and continue to make the site a safe space to ask for help. But today they got to celebrate their achievement with a lunchtime barbecue, and a chance to chat in the sunshine. A key reminder that being a mate is about being there in good times and bad.

You can learn more about Mates in Construction here: Suicide Prevention in Construction - Mates in Construction NZ