SAS Group > Case Studies

MATES in Construction


MATES is a charity that was established in 2008 to reduce the high level of suicide among Australian construction workers. It has designed and implemented comprehensive, multi-modal suicide prevention programs across several Australian states.

Their modus operandi is to unite sometimes competing advocacy groups, such as employers and unions, in a common purpose – to improve mental health outcomes for the Australian workforce. It often must navigate complex relationships and competing interests across multiple sectors. 

In engaging the SAS Group, MATES discussed the challenges associated with maintaining a presence on the ‘national’ stage and issues incumbent on retaining influence and input with government. They also discussed the need to develop priorities aligned to the work of MATES in Construction at a state level and the operational need to manage engagement of industry partners through a well considered and planned national strategy for media and communications. 


The SAS Group proposed that MATES address its immediate strategic challenge of increasing and securing ongoing federal funding from a national funding pool divorced from the need to engage with PHN’s by:

  • Exploring, planning and articulating a national role for MATES in Construction across a wide range of mental health policy areas having particular focus on;
  • Facilitate and workshop, with internal stakeholders, the production of key national and state-based operational priorities developed to;
  • Identifying and planning a strategy aimed at achieving strong relationships and a tiered approach to service delivery across regional PHN’s.
  • Develop and implement an engagement and communications plan, building awareness and continuity of MATES in Construction services with particular reference to PHN’s.
  • Conduct a planning exercise ensuring media and communications activities are attached and aligned to MIC’s strategic goals.
  • Undertake high level planning and engagement for MATES in Construction’s industry partners around event planning and execution designed to highlight and strengthen MATES in Construction’s role on a national stage with all media and communications outcomes.


The SAS Group has held close working relationships with successive Federal Health Ministers and this will continue regardless of the election outcome. The SAS Group has been instrumental is supporting MATES since 2015 to build a truly bi-partisan industry partnership with government. They worked successfully with government to highlight the importance of national, industry based interventions needed to save lives. This resulted in the Australian Government’s creation of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program designed to work towards zero suicides and reduce suicidal behaviour across the Australian population. The SAS Group has led our engagement with Federal and State Governments in the creation of the Mates’ Australian Building and Construction Industry Blueprint for Better Mental Health and Suicide,” writes Chris Lockwood, National Chief Executive Officer.

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