Worker who struggled with mental illness hopes to help others with launch of 'MATES in Construction' initiative

Warning: This article discusses suicide.

A construction worker who came close to taking his own life, is hoping to help others through a new initiative.

The MATES in Construction initiative, launched on Wednesday, aims to get those in the sector to open up if they are struggling and need support.

Spokesperson Justin Geange says it's about opening up dialogue.

"I need to be transparent so it will give other people an opportunity for them to be transparent, and hopefully through those conversations we can keep some of the people that we care about till on the planet," Geange told Newshub.

"It's all about noticing someone you're working with, and calling people out on the things that you notice - those things that are out of character.

"The whole program is set up around help offering, not help seeking."

With the initiative already rolled out in Australia, the industry there has seen an eight percent reduction in suicide rates.

Geange said it's all about learning how to look after your mates.

"We need every builder to step up; our industry is our people."

Where to find help and support:

  • Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email or online chat
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)