MATES ON SITE
MATES in Construction believes in building workplace communities and increasing the capability of the workforce to look out for their MATES. MATES encourage the questioning of the stigma that currently surrounds the topic of suicide and mental illness. The programme is FREE to everyone on site, giving access to the whole workforce.
The MATES Programme
Key features of the MATES programme that sets us apart from other suicide prevention initiatives:
- It is based on the work leading Livingworks Suicide Prevention Model.
- It seeks to build workplace capacity to identify and appropriately respond to signs that a co-worker may be at risk of suicide.
- Actively engaging with workers through on-site training and providing case management support to those who seek help and linking them to suitable professional support.
- MATES staff have been trained in suicide intervention and come from backgrounds within the Building and Construction Industry. This provides them with the ability to connect easily with the workers on site and have a good understanding of the pressures faced working in the industry.
The MATES programme uses training as a tool to raise awareness that there is a problem with suicide and its contributing risk factors within our industry – and that we can all be part of the solution. Support is then provided through clear pathways to help. Our case management processes ensure that workers in need of support are connected to appropriate help; and on-site visits by field officers to support the site and its workers in an ongoing presence until the site closes.
Three Levels of Programme Delivery
General Awareness Training (GAT)
GAT Training is delivered to at least 80% of workers on site, it is delivered en-masse and on-site at a time and place convenient to the contractors. This training helps to introduce workers to the nature of the problem and provides practical guidance as to how they can assist.
Connector Training is provided to those people on site who volunteer to become a Connector.
A Connector is trained to help keep someone in crisis safe, while at the same time connecting them to professional help.
Although the optimum number of connectors is 1 in 20 (5%), it is about ensuring there is adequate coverage across the site and across crews.
ASIST Training equips individuals to develop safe plans for workers at critical risk. These workers can be compared to the first aid officer on site. ASIST workers will talk to a person contemplating suicide with the object of making this person “safe”. Using simple skills an ASIST worker will listen to the persons’ concerns and respond to them appropriately with the object of reaching a “safe plan” for the worker.
Support from our Team
MATES Field Officers go onto site to establish the programme. Once the MATES programme commences, the Field Officer will have contact with that site until the site comes to closure. That presence includes both training and support. It could include toolbox talks, presence at site events, regular visits to the site office and to be available to talk with any workers who may want to talk with MATES.
MATES in Construction field staff provide ongoing support for Connectors and ASIST workers on sites.
Where there is a critical incident, the Field Officer will contact the Connectors in view of providing support. The Field Officer will attend site by invitation.
MATES Case Managers assist troubled workers with an effective plan to effectively address their issue(s). Although MATES does not provide any services, we connect the worker to appropriate services. This could include services such as their EAP, financial counselling, drug and alcohol services, grief counselling, family and relationship counselling etc.
We also follow up with the worker to ensure the help they received was effective. In some cases, we will also advocate for the worker with a particular service to ensure the service can meet their needs.
MATES in Construction Wellbeing Buckets
The MATES in Construction Wellbeing Buckets have been adapted from Te Whare Tapa Whā model which was developed by Mason Durie.
When working within the construction industry it became apparent that the symbol of the buckets was a user-friendly route of getting the workers to identify where their level of support is required.
With four equal buckets, the symbol of each bucket portrays the four different dimensions of Māori Health and Wellbeing. Should one of the four dimensions be missing or damaged, a person or a collective may become ‘unbalanced’ and subsequently unwell.
In a traditional Māori approach, the inclusion of the wairua (spiritual), the role of the whānau (family) and the balance of hinengaro (mind) are as important as the tinana (physical) symptoms of illness and therefore requires a holistic approach.
Taha Tinana is your physical wellbeing. It is about how your body develops, feels and moves and how you nourish and care for it.
Tinana is just one aspect of health and wellbeing and cannot be seperated from all others.
For Maori the physical dimension is one aspect of overall health and wellbeing.
Taha wairua is about your connection with the environment, people and heritage in the past, present and future. The way people view wairua can be very different.
For some wairua is the capacity for faith or religious beliefs or having a belief in a higher power.
How is one’s wairua health impacting on other areas such as physical health.
Wairua can determine us as individual and as a collective.
Taha whānau is about who make you feel you belong, who you care about and who you share your life with.
Whānau is about extended relationships – not just immediate relatives. It’s your friends, community and people you care about.
Whānau provides strength to be who we are.
Knowing the importance of whānau and how they contribute to your wellbeing and identity.
Just like your physical health, your taha hinengaro / mental and emotional wellbeing needs to be looked after.
Hinengaro represents your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Hinengaro is about how you feel as well as how you communicate and think.
How do we see ourselves, our interaction with our identity and the perception.
We know that if one of the buckets is low, your capacity to maintain balance becomes very challenging. We want you to tell us where you are sitting in each area of your life through the buckets above. This way we can see where we can support you from a holistic approach, ensuring that the right fit of services and support is recognised and supported.
MATES in Construction would like to acknowledge Mason Durie for the Whare Tapa Whā model.
How the programme works
Increased awareness and understanding
Through on-site General Awareness Training we achieve an increased awareness and understanding of suicide and mental ill health leading to reduced stigma. And through site activities such as toolbox talks, presence on site and Fly the Flag day a unity of purpose around improving mental health and preventing suicide improves workforce perception of their industry and workplace.
Increased support capability
Through volunteer Connectors and ASIST workers we create a site-based peer intervention capability seeking to identify and connect workers to appropriate support.
Increased social connectivity
Through common purpose, onsite volunteers and general awareness we increase social connection on site and by supporting the on- site networks with Field Officers, Case Managers and a 24/7 Support line we connect individuals in need of support to the best available services.
How to become an accredited site
Every construction site is eligible to achieve MATES in Construction ‘Accredited’ status.
For the site to be awarded ‘Accredited’ status it would meet the following criteria:
- all the available workforce including administration staff must have received General Awareness Training (GAT)
- the proportion of the workforce that has received General Awareness Training (GAT) must be maintained at a minimum of 80% as the workforce transitions in and out of the project or site
- the site must have a minimum of one CONNECTOR for every twenty workers throughout the different levels and contractors on site, and
- the site must have access to an ASIST trained resource. (This can be administered through MATES NZ).
When a site has achieved these criteria, they will qualify for accreditation which delivers the following:
- they will be presented with a Certificate of Accreditation by MATES in Construction, preferably at a site gathering
- they will receive a MATES in Construction logo that can be used on all communications
- signage can be used that states this is a MATES in Construction ‘Accredited’ site and one that takes its responsibility for workers mental wellbeing and safety seriously
- slides that can be incorporated into site inductions to let new workers know this is a MATES in Construction workplace
- ongoing support from MATES in Construction Relationship Manager/Field Officer and Case Manager to look after sites, conduct training activities, support and CONNECTORS and provide face-to-face and phone counselling to workers.
MATES PROGRAMME BROCHURE
How to get the MATES programme onto your site.
"What is a Connector" brochure
Connectors make our industry safer – they are our eyes and ears on site.
MATES awareness posters
MATES awareness posters for use on your site.
Become a MATES in Construction NZ Partner