Are young men getting the message?

How suicide prevention literacy varies among construction workers depending on age.

Suicide is a leading cause of death among young men. Help-seeking is known to be poor among this group, and little is known about what interventions are most successful in improving suicide prevention literacy among young men.

Our research examined:

  1. age differences in beliefs related to suicide prevention literacy and attitudes to the workplace in addressing mental health among male construction workers and;
  2. age differences in response to a workplace suicide prevention programs.

19,917 male respondents were obtained from a workplace training program database.  Young men demonstrated poorer baseline suicide prevention literacy but were more likely to consider that mental health is a workplace health and safety issue. There was also evidence that young men employed in manual occupations had poorer suicide prevention literacy than older men, and young men employed in professional/managerial roles.

Our results indicate that while suicide prevention literacy may be lower among young men, this group show they are open to changing their beliefs. There were some indications that young men have a greater propensity to regard the workplace as having a role in reducing suicide rates and addressing mental health, highlighting opportunity for workplace interventions. What has become clear is that the construction industry must do something to reduce suicide rates.

This is an open access article available here:

King TL, Batterham PJ, Lingard H, Gullestrup J, Lockwood C, Harvey SB, Kelly B, LaMontagne AD & Milner A. Are Young Men Getting the Message? Age Differences in Suicide Prevention Literacy among Male Construction Workers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 475.

This research is part of our MatesMonitor project focused on suicide prevention in the construction industry. Find our more about the project here

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Dr Tania King