MATES in Construction is a national charitable organisation working to reduce suicide in the construction industry. Working alongside industry partners, MATES aim is to ignite hope by lifting workers’ capacity to recognise  when a mate or themselves may be struggling or at risk of suicide and support each other to reach out for help.

“Since MATES has come along…it has broken down a hell of a lot of stigma for us…the fact that we’re actually asking people ‘are they okay?’. That just didn’t used to happen. We’re a very bloke centric [industry]…they don’t  want to be seen as being weak…when [things] actually happen in their lives… and they’re really in a bad space and you know something’s wrong, but [weren’t] going to tell ya. Now they actually will.” – MATES Focus  Group research participant (research funded by BRANZ)

“Research is all about hearing workers’ voices, so that we know how they are travelling and the stressors they face. From there, MATES is able to deliver trainings and supports that meet our workers’ needs right now, and  that is powerful.” – Dr Lauren Donnan, MATES Research Manager.

An example of MATES’ research and engagement is the recent Construction Industry Wellbeing Survey offering valuable insight into the mental health and wellbeing of our workers, and the key stressors they are facing. The November 2023 Survey accessed the voices of more than 2,100 workers via forms offered in six languages to help capture the narratives of our diverse industry – Chinese, English, Samoan, Tagalog, te reo Māori, and  Tongan – and asked questions regarding mental health and wellbeing at work and home between August to November 2023. With many stressors at play from Covid to extreme weather events to the cost-of-living crisis and  now a recession, it comes as no surprise that 1 in 5 workers who completed the Survey reported that the last 12 months had been among the most difficult times of their lives.


The Survey identified that while over 60% of workers felt satisfied with their work life, the need for mental health support remains a priority in our industry:

The survey also identified that the top five workplace psychosocial stressors – aspects of the workplace and its organisational contexts that could potentially cause psychological or physical harm – were:
1. High workload.
2. Weather.
3. Ongoing physically/mentally/emotionally demanding work.
4. Stress among workmates.
5. Pressure from tight site/build timeframes.

Outside of the workplace, mental health was a top stressor highlighted by workers, alongside a lack of sleep and feelings of exhaustion, physical health, time for self-care, and relationships with family/ whānau/ partners/  friends.

Participants from the survey also highlighted the importance of having MATES on site – reducing stigma, raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing, and helping workers to offer support to their workmates and seek  help for themselves – MATES HELPING MATES.

*Please note this is preliminary data only. The research is currently undergoing external data analysis, and findings presented may be subject to change.