Builders Mo up to Help Stop Their Mates Dying Early


G.J. Gardner Homes franchises across Australia have teamed up with their national and international colleagues in a bid to raise more than $120,000 for the Movember Foundation, to support the work they do addressing prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide among Australian men.

Last year, G.J. Gardner raised over $105,000 for the Movember Foundation and this year, with over 80 franchises and head office staff participating nationally, as well as G.J. Gardner franchises in the US, G.J. Gardner will once again be the largest corporate team participating in Movember, a cause that is close to their hearts given the alarming rates of suicide among men in the construction industry.

G.J. Gardner Homes CEO Darren Wallis said a report prepared for suicide prevention group MATES in Construction by Deakin University showed suicide rates for men in the construction industry were 71 per cent higher than among the general male population.

“A construction worker is six times more likely to die by suicide than a workplace accident,” Mr Wallis said. “Between 2001 and 2013, 2554 construction workers died by suicide, representing an average of 182 deaths per year, or one suicide every second day.”

Mr Wallis said the construction industry was an extremely fast-paced and demanding environment and if these pressures were compounded by other personal issues like relationship breakdowns or financial hardship, this could have a devastating effect on workers.

“The industry is male-dominated and has traditionally had a macho culture, where workers weren’t encouraged to talk about issues that were impacting them,” he said.

“The Movember Foundation does an amazing job of encouraging men to talk about mental and physical health issues with their mates and colleagues and to seek help if they need it.”

“Unfortunately, many of our franchisees have seen first-hand the debilitating effect and sometimes tragic result when colleagues struggle with the pressures of modern day living,” said Mr Wallis said. “Many of us have also been affected by prostate or testicular cancer or have mates, colleagues or family that have been affected.” 

G.J. Gardner staff and franchise owners across Australia and the US will grow a Mo throughout Movember to help support the Movember Foundation’s goal of reducing the number of men dying prematurely by 25% by 2030.

G.J. Gardner is also putting the spotlight on the health of its staff and sub-contractors during Movember with a full health program.

“We will be providing information kits containing prostate and testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention fact sheets. It will also include weekly workout plans and a free counselling hotline will be available for those needing extra support. We will also be encouraging staff to undergo important health checks with their doctor during the campaign.

“We hire thousands of people across the state so ensuring our team members are well physically, mentally and spiritually is vital because the impact when someone is not can be huge.”

The Movember Foundation was founded in Australia in 2003 and is now a global organisation across 21 countries, raising $770 million since its inception and funding more than 1,200 projects worldwide focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide prevention.