Leaders in the field of mental health will join forces at a ground-breaking James Cook University conference (30 June to July 1) to share innovative solutions.
CEO of MATES in Construction, Jorgen Gullestrup, will speak at the conference about their successful suicide prevention program.
James Cook University is taking the lead in bringing together leaders in the field of mental health at the Inaugural Australasian Mental Health in Higher Education Conference (IAMHHEC).
“We know that 18 to 24-year-olds have the highest prevalence of mental health challenges of any age group,” says Professor Nola Alloway, Dean of JCU’s College of Arts, Society and Education. “Responding to this reality our conference will explore prevention and intervention programs, strategies and services to improve mental health. Our intention is to build a more resilient culture within higher education and the wider community.”
CEO of MATES in Construction, Jorgen Gullestrup, will talk at the IAMHHEC about their community development program, which has yielded impressive results with suicide prevention.
“For years we’ve encouraged men to ask for help but we’re just not good at it,” Jorgen says. “What’s worked with our program is we’ve asked men to offer help instead.”
The first step of the program is to run a one-hour talk at work sites that looks at suicide as a preventable problem. The second is asking for volunteer ‘Connectors’ who link colleagues who are struggling with resources that can help them and the third is providing a two-day workshop on suicide prevention to those go-to people so they’re more equipped to assist.
“We don’t provide any clinical services – it’s about connecting people with the right help. We’ve got about 9000 volunteer Connectors across four states, who are identified by a green sticker on their hard hats,” Jorgen says.
“Our research shows the suicide rate in the construction industry in Queensland has dropped by about eight per cent over the first five years of the program.”
To learn more about evidence-based services, preventions, interventions, and mental health education, register for the conference now at jcu.edu.au/iamhhec.