As Australia begins emerging from isolation and lockdown, the coronavirus threat remains and mental health impacts are shaping up to be a massive issue as the nation moves forward.
Trigger warning: suicide.
COVID-19's effects have been many and impacts on workers include financial strain, family issues and increased pressures at home. All of these factors can contribute to stress and exacerbate mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. University of Sydney modelling suggests 750 additional lives could be lost to suicide each year for the next five years. One in four of these deaths will be young people.
Site Safety Alliance, the company that supplies monthly Toolbox Talk packs to the building and construction industry, has prepared specific content for site managers and safety managers to support building and construction workers on-site who may be struggling to cope under increased pressure.
The special 'Headspace COVID-19 Toolbox Talk' packs are designed to ensure workers feel that support is available to them if they feel more stressed and distracted in these times. They provide clear messaging to engage all construction site staff in a culture of safety and looking out for each other's mental and physical well-being.
"These talk packages save time and cost by providing site managers with everything they need to present an engaging, effective and consistent safety and well-being message for one or multiple sites," says Site Safety Alliance co-founder Garry Mansfield.
The material aims to include workers and connect them in positive ways, rather than simply telling them what to do.
The Headspace COVID-19 Toolbox Talk packs are available immediately.
"We know this situation is only temporary, but we need to make sure we all stay focused and remain vigilant around site safety," says Mansfield. "COVID-19 has brought numerous additional procedures to the everyday workings of a site and, while everyone is complying with these requirements, we should continue to reinforce our ongoing focus on safety and well-being of our workforces during this time."
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or experiencing mental health issues, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 000.