The prospect of sitting facing a counsellor and ‘opening up’ leaves many of us cold, and such supports are avoided. Worst are younger guys... and kinda middlingly old-timers like myself.
However, get us working on a project along with a bunch of others; chuck a couple of Peer Support Workers into the mix, bring on a qualified builder who knows their stuff, without even realising it, we're opening up to support, sharing our story over coffee/smoko, and picking up not only the physical tools in the workshop, but the support tools that we so need.
Since Clare started offering the programme, there have been moments when I've been reduced to tears (manly ones, of course....!) - both through laughter, delight and simply being humbled at the depth of what I've seen. It's the GOLD. It's true holistic prevention work at its finest.
Those taking part have already got stuck into:
All this has only been possible thanks to the sponsorship of Mitre 10 Mega, New Plymouth. Humbling to see such generosity in action.
Building the skills; creating something; using your hands - it changes stuff. However, power tools are a requirement for that to happen - and are where the real fun starts! Mitre 10 Mega's generosity has included the full sponsorship of the equipment - a comprehensive list including the best in landscaping tools; skillies, drills, drivers, chargers, saws, angle-grinders... PPE...
Today we shout out to the amazing team there, for caring so much - and, on behalf of every single person who will take part in the programme - THANK YOU. I encourage all of us to show our appreciation by making our presence felt in the local Mitre 10 Mega when the DIY urge hits us... The guys are the real-deal legends there.
Why Building Mates?
....because it's all about connections; and it's not just about guys, either. It's about all of us.
Shaun Robinson, Spokesperson for the Mental Health Foundation commented, in response to a sobering report on the scale of loss to suicide within the construction industry: “Suicide prevention is something for all New Zealanders to work on, but the most effective suicide prevention initiatives are tailored to the environments and cultures of people at risk. In the case of the construction industry, pilots of programmes in New Zealand and Australia have found that initiatives targeted at people who work in the construction industry can prevent suicide and improve mental health and wellbeing.”
That's what we're all about.
Know someone who might find the hands-on approach helpful (suitable for teens and upwards) - pick up some skills, and get a listening ear in the workshop environment? Tell them the story.
Keen to support? Here's the wishlist (think Build-Bank - like a foodbank, but gruntier):
Can you help out with any of the above? Drop Clare an email on firstname.lastname@example.org