A new Griffith University NHMRC-EU project aims to improve mental health and reduce the risk of suicide in the construction, health and ICT sectors.

Dr Victoria Ross

Dr Victoria Ross from the Australian Institute For Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) is leading MINDUP Australia to evaluate workplace interventions to improve mental health outcomes of people working in these sectors.

“By partnering with the European MINDUP project to conduct controlled trials in Australia, this research will accelerate implementation of effective mental health promotion and intervention programs,’’ Dr Ross said.

“The Australian study is supported by MATES in Construction (MIC). MIC was developed as a workplace suicide prevention program after research by AISRAP found a significantly higher suicide rates among Australian men in the construction industry compared to Australian men in general.

“Aspects of the successful MIC program will be integrated into the multi-level European MINDUP intervention.”

She said although the work environment was thought to be a contributing factor to poor mental health, workplaces could also be a source of wellbeing.

“Research shows that improving access to evidence-based interventions for minor stress-related depressive symptoms in occupational sectors associated with high suicide rates is likely to prevent the development of depression and suicidal behaviours.

“We hope the results of this study will lead to the improvement of the mental health and wellbeing of all workers across many occupations.”

The $421,778 project is one of 10 National Health and Medical Research-funded grants announced by the Federal Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt MP this month.