01.12.2022

Looking After Your Mates

Abodo staff have been learning to foster better communication and mental health at work with MATES in Construction.

At MATES in Construction training workshops, Abodo staff have been learning how to recognise symptoms of mental health problems and foster better communication across our team.

As members of the construction industry, MATES in Construction is an organisation close to our hearts. Tragically, New Zealand’s construction industry loses one person each week to suicide, with around 98% being male and a large proportion Māori and Pacific Islanders. With each person lost, there is a ripple effect of impact on families and communities, and ultimately on the country as a whole.

However, with support networks in place, these tragic losses can be prevented - and that is the work of MATES in Construction. Last Christmas, Abodo called for nominations for a donation campaign - and we were inundated with votes for MATES.

The organisation raises awareness for construction workers’ mental health, conducts research into the hows and whys behind the incidences of suicide, and provides training for management and for workers to connect and grow support networks within the industry.

Recently, Abodo workers from our Mangere and Ohinewai manufacturing facilities and from our head office attended training workshops with MATES. With just a small group in each of these workshops, it was shocking to see that many of us had been impacted by suicide - and this furthered our resolve to ensure more were not lost.

Our key takeaways were about recognising the warning signs in others.

Since we spend much of our waking life with our workmates, we learned the importance of noticing changes in their behaviour, listening to our gut and reaching out if we believe something could be wrong.

Simply asking ‘are you okay?’ and then listening carefully can make all the difference in a person’s day. It can also enable you to help find support for their struggles, whether they be financial, health related, family problems, or something else entirely.

While New Zealand tends to have a ‘tough guy’ mentality, MATES is helping men around the country to see that it’s okay to open up and talk about their problems.

Within our manufacturing facilities and offices, we have seen how these workshops have opened the door for more meaningful conversations between staff.

We also appreciated the advice from MATES to ensure you have some ‘green time’ every day - getting out in nature really helps to refresh the mind and put problems in perspective, which is something Abodo can definitely get behind.

From our team at Abodo, whakawhetai koe to MATES in Construction for their passion and work in preventing suicide in the construction industry.

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