R U OK? MATES in construction

Sep 12, 2019 | Building Industry

HEADS UP – This post deals with the topic of suicide. If you are experiencing problems or dealing with suicide grief and would like to talk to someone, please reach out to Lifeline or one of the listed organisations.

Three years ago today we said goodbye to a friend who most of us didn’t know was struggling. As we hear so often, he was the happiest of people. He would light up a room, do anything for anyone and had the most infectious of laughs. We didn’t know that all of that masked a pain so deep he felt he couldn’t go on and couldn’t stay. It still pains me that so many of us didn’t know – even though I myself didn’t see him very often.

Australian data reveals that males make up around 75% of those that choose to end their life. This is a staggering figure and upsetting in itself (especially as a mother to three boys).  However, as a copywriter specialising in copy for the building and construction industry, it is also alarming to read that suicide rates within this industry are higher than the Australian average for men and that youth suicide in this industry is more than two times greater than the national average for the same age groups.  190 Australians in the construction industry end their life each year which means the industry is losing a worker every second day. That’s a lot of colleagues, friends and family members – and the repercussions on those left behind can’t begin to be measured.

I think the prevalence of male deaths can be attributed in part to a masculine discourse in which we somehow made it not okay for males to show emotion or empathy. I pray that we are slowly but surely turning this awful tide. Cue the great work of MATES in Construction, a charity established in 2008, run by the Australian Building and Construction Industry, aimed at reducing the high number of deaths among its ranks. Their philosophy is based on everyone in the industry playing a role because “suicide is everyone’s business”.

MATES in Construction provide general awareness education, as well as train people to be “Connectors” and “ASIST workers” – basically these people are trained to recognise the signs of someone in trouble, keep them safe in a crisis and lead them to professional help. It’s a really great initiative and I totally commend the industry for recognising that was a problem and actually doing something about it.

Being a relatively young charity, not many people know about it so I encourage you to share this post. Awareness can be a first step to helping someone and won’t cost you a thing. There are many other ways to support the charity as well – from donations to participation in fundraising events and today’s annual Fly the Flag for Mates, run in conjunction with R U OK? day.

It may sound like a cliche, but together we can change the story – we can help make it okay for people, especially men in the building and construction industry, to reach out and help a mate or ask for help themselves. R U OK? Day always dominates social media news feeds in the week in which it is held, but my hope is that people are always looking out for their friends and family – and of course their work mates – no matter what day of the year it is. The R U OK? website is full of resources about what to look out for, what to say and how to help. The conversation simply can’t end with the words “are you okay?”


Get your Instagram on

After Kate’s earlier mentioned money talk, the conference closed with the effervescent Jade Warner from Small Business Growth Club talking all things Instagram. Jade’s presentation was a great reminder that transformation and story telling is still a social media honeypot. People love to see how other people, products, places and just about anything have changed. I particularly loved Jade’s advice about the more Instagram surfaces (feeds, stories, reels, lives, DMs) we appear on, the further our reach.

Let’s get physical

Kate Toon provided a conference experience unlike many others. Coffee cart, morning and afternoon tea, lunch, after conference finger food and drinks, beanbags and massages. But even with all of that, she realised her speakers were giving us a lot of information and that our brains had a lot to process. So in the afternoon she surprised us a with a special guest – Lizzie Williamson from Two Minute Moves. Lizzie told us her story and demonstrated that even for those of us who hate exercise (not mentioning any names), two minutes of movement a day can be a game changer for our mental health. She had us up moving and dancing to Olivia Newton John’s Let’s Get Physical and it definitely helped our mindset. We were refreshed and able to concentrate for the last of the afternoon sessions.

Gifts and prizes

Attendees were also spoiled with a whole range of gifts donated by businesses in DMC. I was lucky enough to win two gorgeous prizes – a mini hamper from Bundles of Luxe thanks to Natasha Sutton from First Impressions Media, and a linen table runner and soap from Sue McGary of French Affair.

I also went home with gifts from Nick’s Digital and event sponsor True Green. And if that wasn’t enough, Kate also gave us Masterminders a box of Digital Marketing Collective goodies.

Award winners

It’s amazing to think that Kate Toon also organised awards around this conference. They’re a lot of work and many generous people gave up their time to read and judge entries. Thank you to head judge Erin Huckle and everyone else who participated.

I was a finalist in the Service Based Business of the Year Award (how cool is that?) but I couldn’t be disappointed in missing out when I saw the calibre of the other finalists. Well done to all finalists. A big congratulations to Beck Confrancesco from Marketing Goodness for being runner up and Nerissa Bentley from The Melbourne Health Writer for winning. Woo hoo! So well deserved. Both these women have always been extremely generous, sharing their knowledge and helping me be better in business. So I was thrilled to see both these first time award entrants get rewarded for their hard work and success.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners in the E-commerce Business of the Year awards as well. Was thrilled to see Nikki Filia from BeBangles, whose beautiful bracelets I was wearing, awarded runner up. And congratulations to Sue McGary from French Affair for taking out the win. What gorgeous products.


Digital Marketing Collective

This blog post is merely a recap of two very value-packed days at the Digital Marketing Collective Conference 2023. The overwhelming feeling at the end was not only that we got so much useful and practical information to help our businesses grow, but that we had met so many amazing humans.

Kate Toon has an uncanny ability to gather together the best of people. The Digital Marketing Collective is made up of a diverse range of service based and e-commerce business owners. Imagine having a safe space to learn, grow, make mistakes and be supported. Come join us. Full disclosure – the link below is an affiliate link but I would never recommend a group that I wasn’t myself paying to be a part of.

Join Digital Marketing Collective

P.S. If you want to see more photos and videos from the Mastermind and Conference, head over to my Instagram highlights after you join DMC.

Welcome to The Copywriting Chonicles

I love the building industry as much as I love writing. You can learn more about me here.

If you have a question about anything building related that you would like me to blog about, please drop me a quick note.

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