La Trobe University has used R U OK? Day to reach out to tradies working at the Bendigo campus.
Construction workers were invited to join staff and students for wider festivities on a day of frank discussions, de-stressing games, activities and visits from puppies.
La Trobe’s counselling manager Jim Young said it was important people check in with mates seek support when it was needed.
“The number of suicide deaths in Australia is around three times higher in males than females, so clearly this is a topic we need to talk about, particularly with men,” Mr Young said.
“A simple gesture like asking a mate how they’re going can make a huge difference. You don’t always know what is going on with people – even with people you see every day.”
HALT (Hope Assistancew Local Tradies) founder Jeremy Forbes was part of a panel during R U OK? Day and welcomed efforts to reach out to tradies
“The tradies are part of the community while they are here so it's important for them to come in,” he said.
It was also important all staff, students and contractors knew how to react if someone said they were not fine.
“We have to create the space for people to open up, to be vulnerable and trusting. That's when they can say they are not OK and for you not to freak out,” Mr Forbes said.
If you are going through a tough time you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.