Tradeswomen Australia said the introduction of the COVID-19 virus prevention programs into the building industry has lifted the focus on mental health issues in the workplace. This issue will be discussed in an online forum by Tradeswomen Australia on 15 April 2020.

Executive Director of Tradeswomen Australia, Fiona McDonald said the aim of the online forum, available nationally, is to gain feedback and concerns from tradies working in major construction and smaller construction sites, including housing where smaller building companies are involved and often tradies work on their own. 

In Australia, ‘tradies’ make up less than one-third of all people in employment but represent ‘58% of serious claims for workers’ (1) compensation. Construction ranks in the top three for industries with the highest work-related injury or illness and deaths related to traumatic injury.(2)

Ms McDonald said one of the aims of the online discussion is to promote the importance of workers asking for help. Construction sites traditionally have been reported as ‘Macho’ workplaces which decrease the likelihood men will look after themselves by consulting health-care professionals, talking to a supervisor about reducing hours or asking for time off.(3)

Guest Commentators speaking at the forum and to answer questions are Michele Grow, CEO Mental Health & Wellness, APM and Leah Davidson, Development Coach, Trainer and Facilitator. 

Ms McDonald said suicide and declining mental health for construction workers were found to be impacted by work and industry-related factors including

– Job insecurity

– Transient working conditions,

– Issues connected to business and financial management, and

– Fear of legal prosecution in relation to debt and conduct at work (4)


Media Enquiries:

Ron Smith, Media Communications – Mobile: 0417 329 201


1 – Safe Work (

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3 – An organizational approach to undoing gender: The unlikely case of offshore oil platforms Author links open overlay panel Robin J.Ely Debra E.Meyerson Harvard Business School, Harvard University, United States Stanford University, United States Available online 20 October 2010.

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Services for help

Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 for 24-hour Australian counselling services.

Beyondblue (1300 22 4636) for 24-hour phone support, online chat, resources and apps.

Mind out ( for mental health and suicide support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 — free confidential 24-hour counselling for young people aged 5 to 18. Headspace offers online counselling for young people aged 12-25 and Reach Out has online forums, chat and information about youth mental health.

Guest Commentators

Leah Davidson
Development Coach, Trainer and Facilitator.
Formally trained in Behaviour Profiling and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Leah brings expertise to mindset and communication. Leah has more than 25 years experience in personal Development Coaching.

Michele Grow
CEO Mental Health & Wellness, APM 
Since 1994, APM has been delivering life-changing services to enable better lives. Today we help more than 600,000 people each year in programs that deliver: employment services, outplacement,
apprenticeships and training, allied health,
psychology and mental health,
occupational rehabilitation, injury prevention assessments across the key sectors of workforce development, health and wellbeing, community and corporate

Hosted by Andrew Gill
For over 25 years, Andrew Gill has immersed himself in events. His formative years in performance, sports entertainment and media paved the way to corporate and public theatre, event production and direction. He works with leading global and Australian brands along with government agencies, not-for-profit organisations, educational institutions and SMEs.
Andrew also acts as Business Stagecraft and Screen Director for corporate and government organisations focusing on developing skills and confidence in front of a camera or live audience.
Co-Hosted by Fiona McDonald
Executive Director
Tradeswomen Australia
Fiona McDonald’s career began as a light vehicle apprentice. During her apprenticeship and time working in the automotive industry she identified a lack of support, promotion and opportunities for women in trade industries. Fiona values workplace diversity and works with employers to help them achieve benefits such as higher employee engagement, improved performance, greater innovation, retention of talent, improved employee wellbeing and remove unlawful behaviours such as harassment and discrimination.