Mates In Construction SA

Mates In Construction SA

MATES in Construction

MATES in Construction is a genuine industry initiative; it’s “industry helping industry”.

Official Website


Mates in Construction in its simplest form is just “mates looking after mates”. We spend many hours a week at work and in many cases we spend more time with our workmates than anyone else including our family. Mates can often notice or can sense when we are doing it tough because we send out signs or invitations telling them.

The Program

There are three parts of MIC’s suicide prevention and awareness program. MIC’s aim is for every construction site to be MIC accredited with the right mix of workers trained across these three areas of suicide awareness and prevention. All of the training sessions outlined below are about helping workers look after their mates and ensure they can easily connect to high quality help. A MIC Case Manager ensures that all help is appropriate for the worker and follows up to check it has been worthwhile.

TopBest Practice

The MATES in Construction program was developed in consultation with industry and with reference to global best practice in suicide prevention from:

  • The Australian Government’s national suicide prevention ‘LIFE’ (Living is For Everyone) framework, which has received global recognition; and
  • Internationally recognised Living Works model. Living Works is widely used by Lifeline, Police and Armed Forces to mention a few.

The MATES in Construction program is widely recognised and has won Suicide Prevention Australia’s LIFE Award for best business/industry suicide prevention program in Australia for 4 consecutive years running,; 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The program was also recognised with a Highly Commended award in 2010 at the Queensland Annual Premiers Mental Health Week Achievement Awards for suicide prevention.

TopGeneral Awareness Training (GAT) (1 hr)

MIC aims to achieve 100% suicide awareness on-site by running this training on site regularly. The one hour session introduces workers to the problem of suicide and mental health in the industry and describes how some behaviours could indicate that a workmate may be at risk of suicide and how they may be able to help by following a few easy steps.

MATES in Construction’s General Awareness Training (GAT) makes it clear to the industry that for some workers this culture is life threatening. Workers need space, opportunity and permission to discuss personal issues whilst at work.

TopConnector Training (4hrs)

MIC provides training to a number of workers on site as Connectors. A Connector is “a mate who can keep you safe while connecting you to help”. The Connector training has Safe TALK embedded into it. Safe TALK is an internationally recognised suicide prevention program. Connectors are easily identifiable on-site by a green hard hat sticker.

TopASSIST Training: Suicide First Aid (2 days)

An ASSIST worker can be compared to a first-aid officer on site. Participants undergo a two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASSIST) workshop.

Using simple skills an ASSIST worker will listen to a worker’s concerns and respond to them appropriately with the object of reaching a “contract” or “safe plan” for the suicidal worker involving extra help and safety. ASSIST workers are easily identifiable on-site by a blue hard hat sticker.

Fast facts: Others can recognise suicidal behaviour by:

  • The Australian Government’s national suicide prevention ‘LIFE’ (Living is For Everyone) framework, which has received global recognition; and
  • Internationally recognised Living Works model. Living Works is widely used by Lifeline, Police and Armed Forces to mention a few.

TopMIC Accreditation

To become a MIC Accredited site or employer the following standards must be met:

  • All workers on site initially undertake General Awareness Training (GAT)
  • One in twenty workers training as Connectors
  • As the job progresses, follow up GAT is undertaken to ensure at any time at least 80% of the workers on site are GAT trained
  • The site has access to appropriate and available suicide first aid resources (ASSIST)

MIC Accredited sites receive a number of promotional materials, access to other MIC programs and Field Officer and Case Management support.

TopThe 24/7 help line 1300 MIC 111 (1300 642 111)

MIC also provides workers with this helpline which connects workers to counsellors or psychologists who can work through issues on the phone and set up future appointments. During work hours MIC staff answers this number with all staff at MIC trained to assist workers. In addition to this, some sites choose to send workers to a two-day course called ASSIST (applied suicide intervention skills training) which gives sites a worker with advanced skills in putting together safe plans for workers with suicidal thoughts.

TopCase Management

MIC provides case management to workers in the construction industry and their families. It aims to provide a bridge between the person seeking help and a broad range of services available to members of the industry.


It has been proven that life skills are a significant resilience factor in protecting young people from suicide. MIC Qld has been running Life Skills for apprentices since 2008. We are looking to run the Life Skills Program in SA commencing in 2013. Life Skills is accredited training mapped against the National Employability skill set for construction apprentices. This program was first developed by the OzHelp Foundation in Canberra in response to a cluster of suicides amongst apprentices.

This is a course is delivered over the life of an apprenticeship/traineeship. The course aims to introduce young workers to a range of issues they will face in the industry and quip them with the life skills to deal with them. This will help them deal with life issues in a positive way and be a protective factor against suicide.

Fast Facts:

  • Construction industry apprentices are the highest risk group for suicide
  • Life Skills is a 3-day course over the life of an apprenticeship
  • 1 in 4 apprentices who complete Life Skills ask for help

BIRST is the Major Sponsor of MATES in Construction SA Ltd.