JEFF Kennett was in Ballarat last night to address a crowd of men and women from the construction industry about the management of mental health.
Speaking to The Courier before his talk to more than 250 people at Ballarat Lodge, Mr Kennett said people in the construction industry needed to understand the importance of good mental health on themselves and their work.
“I am trying to stress to everyone, particularly those in the construction industry, that it is terribly important they take note of their mental health,” Mr Kennett said.
“It’s not just about safety on the job, it’s about individual health and feeling good in yourself.”
An initiative of the Master Builders Association Ballarat sector, the 30-minute talk titled ‘Working your way to good health’, targeted an industry of individuals who often suffer silently through mental health issues.
“The main points I hope to convey are the importance of both mental fitness and physical fitness,” Mr Kennett said.
He said people in the construction industry needed to be able to manage mental fitness, including devising methods to cope with the pressures of day-to-day life, while they also needed to be physically fit.
“Those in the industry often work hard but also play hard,” Mr Kennett said.
“But they need to get in plenty of physical fitness in order to feel healthier mentally.”
Master Builders Association Ballarat president Anthony Tuddenham said it was an honour to have Mr Kennett speak to “a wide variety of people from the construction industry”.
“I’m sure it will really inspire many to better look after their mental health and recognise those around them who may need help,” Mr Tuddenham said. “The construction industry can be a stressful one and those in it need to be aware of how best to cope.”
The founding chairman of beyondblue, Mr Kennett said mental health issues began to resonate with him in 1997 after two of his daughter’s close friends died in car accidents which were later found to be suicides.