Adam Howard, a devoted father of six, is preparing to undertake a remarkable 190-kilometer trek from Merredin to Mundaring Weir to raise funds and awareness for mental health support services in the construction industry. Howard, who has spent three decades working as a construction worker, has witnessed the pervasive mental health issues that afflict many in the industry.
This Sunday, Howard, along with his family, will embark on the challenging journey, with the goal of supporting Mates in Construction WA, which offers vital suicide prevention and support services to workers in the construction and building sector.
Speaking about his motivation, Howard explained to Perthnow, "There were two situations that I was a supervisor dealing with guys who were going through some serious life crises. I was able to call on the services of Mates in Construction to be able to help them out, and I guess I realised the benefit of being able to call on the 24-7 helpline."
Research has shown that the construction industry in Australia has a disproportionately high rate of suicides, with approximately 190 workers taking their lives each year. A staggering 1,947 male suicides within the industry were identified between 2001 and 2010.
Howard attributes the instability of short-term employment in the industry as a contributing factor to the mental health challenges many face. "Some people may only be getting a job that goes for six months, and the next job may not be there," he said. "I think it compounds it physically as well; there's a cost to people's body, they're working around the elements most of the time."
To draw attention to the issue and honor those who have suffered, Howard and his family will follow the historic route of the Goldfields Pipeline, a project completed in 1903. The Chief Engineer, C.Y. O'Connor, who oversaw its construction, faced immense criticism and tragically committed suicide in 1902.
Howard's journey, which traces the footsteps of an ambitious construction project, serves as a reminder of the mental health struggles that can affect anyone in the industry.
"I've seen the stress this industry can cause," said Howard. "It is an uncomfortable topic, but it's a reality."
Donations to support Adam Howard and his family's endeavor can still be made to Howard's mycause fundraising page.
With determination and a strong sense of purpose, the Howard family and their friends are committed to making a difference by raising funds and awareness for Mates in Construction, ultimately striving to improve the mental health and well-being of those in the construction industry.
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