TODAY |

Christchurch tradies talk mental health as NZ construction industry experiences high suicide rates

More than 600 Christchurch tradies have got together to talk mental health in an effort to turn around the high suicide rates in the construction industry.

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The event was organised by a family-run building business, who lost one of their own to suicide. Source: 1 NEWS

The event was organised by a family-run building business who lost one of their own to suicide six months ago.

"It's a male dominated industry, we're the worst talking about our feelings and being vulnerable," Switched On Chief Executive Chris Hughes told 1 NEWS.

"I used to think the same way as some of these others guys do as well, toughen up, get over it, move on, but my understanding now is a hell of a lot more than it was six-months-ago".

The company's been working with the mental health foundation, today inviting more than 600 staff and contractors to open up over breakfast.

New Zealander of the Year and mental health advocate Mike King among them.

Source: TVNZ

"Going on the stats, in a room this big there's at least 35 people in this room right now who are going through a really s**t time and you will never pick who they are, why? Because we are masters of the mask," King said.

The number of suicides in the building sector has risen over the past four years, with 339 workers taking their own lives over a decade.

Experts say it's crucial workers feel comfortable opening up.