Weld Australia has partnered with Gotcha4Life to help build the mental fitness of Australia’s welders.
According to Weld Australia’s chief executive officer, Geoff Crittenden, Weld Australia has made supporting the mental health and well-being of its members and the wider welding community a priority, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Partnering with Gotcha4Life was a natural extension of this," Crittenden says.
Weld Australia and Gotcha4Life believe that, together, they can strengthen the emotional muscle to help build strong social connections, which in turn develops the resilience required to deal better with life's challenges.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44 years of age, and men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. Workers in construction and other trades – including welding – are even more at risk. Tradies are 70 percent more likely to die by suicide than their behind-the-desk counterparts. This means that an Australian tradie takes their own life every second day.
Despite these alarming statistics, mental health definitely isn’t something that tradies talk about openly.
"Gotcha4Life’s vision is focused on a society where people are open, honest and supportive in their relationships and comfortable to express themselves when they are not OK," says Gotcha4Life founder Gus Worland. "A society in which everyone has a Gotcha4Life mate who they can open up to and rely on no matter what. Weld Australia's commitment to building this mental fitness among its members ties in perfectly with our aspirations and we’re so excited to be partnering."
Crittenden says, "Mental fitness is a complex issue and there is no one simple solution. However, it’s clear that Australian tradies, including welders, need more support. The statistics around suicide and tradies are frightening, and we recognise how important it is for us to take a leadership role in helping to spread awareness and education in the welding community.
"It’s vital that we work together, that we back one another, and that we remove the stigma associated with mental health issues. Remember: it’s OK not to be OK."
Gotcha4Life is a not-for-profit foundation that believes in the concept of prevention through connection, and raises awareness of the importance of identifying a close friend in life, someone you can speak openly and honestly to when times are tough. It enables this connection by funding educational workshops and training programs that build mental fitness in individuals and communities across Australia, to enable strong, open and binding relationships.
Gotcha4Life partners with programs such as Tomorrow Man, Tomorrow Woman, Man Anchor and Rural Outreach Counselling to help build emotional muscle in communities across the country.
Weld Australia represents individual professionals and companies of all sizes working in welding in Australia.
If you have any concerns about yourself or a loved one, Lifeline has 24 hour crisis support available on 13 11 14.