The Housing Industry Association Charitable Foundation (HIACF) has launched a new initiative to fight depression and anxiety, and reduce suicide amongst workers in the residential building industry. HIACF is working with leading mental health advocate, beyondblue on the initiative.

HIA Group Manager - Strategic Alliances, Kevin McLoughlin explains that depression and anxiety in the construction sector are major problems, with construction workers more than twice as likely to take their own life as employees in other industries, suggesting they may not be getting the support they need.

Though the construction industry has a very strong focus on protecting employees’ physical health, residential construction workers are actually six times more likely to die by suicide than from a workplace accident. Factors contributing to depression, anxiety and suicide risk among this segment include financial stress, substance abuse and relationship breakdown.

With beyondblue being a leader for over a decade in getting depression and anxiety into the national conversation, HIA sees the association as a natural fit for the initiative. HIA’s reach within the building industry combined with beyondblue’s expertise will help improve access to support for anyone associated with construction when they face mental health challenges.

HIACF was launched in 2012 to improve health and welfare outcomes in the building industry and the broader community. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised over $400,000 to support research into mesothelioma and to provide housing support for the homeless.