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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.

MATES in Construction NZ | Mental health in construction
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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

MATES in Construction NZ | MATES on site | Mental health in construction
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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.

MATES Connector | MATES in Construction NZ


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.

MATES Connector | MATES in Construction NZ


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.

useful resources

"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.