Mental health in construction

In this conference session, we will delve into the critical issue of mental health within the Australian construction industry, where the suicide rate is alarmingly high—three times greater than the male suicide rate in the general population and four times greater for young construction workers. Shockingly, the suicide rate in the construction industry is seven times greater than the rate of accident fatalities on construction sites. Despite these alarming statistics, only a small percentage of individuals seek professional help, emphasising the urgent need for effective interventions.

The session will spotlight the commendable efforts of MATES in Construction, a member of ACIF, and their groundbreaking MATES program. Recognised by the World Health Organisation as world best practice, this community-based intervention employs multimodal peer support led by industry-experienced trainers. We will explore how this program addresses the mental health crisis in the construction sector, emphasising its research-based approach delivered in easily understandable language. Additionally, the session will challenge misconceptions about mental health exclusively affecting tradespeople, presenting findings from the Wellbeing of Architects Research Project, which highlights concerning trends in personal well-being, psychological distress, work-related burnout, and job satisfaction among architecture professionals. The ultimate goal is to inspire collective action to make a positive impact on the mental health challenges pervasive in the industry.


James Cameron

Executive Director, Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF)

James Cameron has been the Executive Director of the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) since January 2016. James brought to ACIF strong skills in research, policy and advocacy from roles with the Australian Institute of Building and Australian Automobile Association.  He holds a PhD in political science, undertaken at the Australian National University. James has also held teaching roles overseas, worked in international banking and for a management consulting firm.  In his ACIF role, James is progressing some of the major issues facing the construction industry, and is ensuring that ACIF Members engage with Ministers to facilitate this.