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Open AccessArticle

Are Young Men Getting the Message? Age Differences in Suicide Prevention Literacy among Male Construction Workers

Centre for Health Equity, School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia
Centre for Mental Health Research, Research School of Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra 2601, Australia
Construction Work Health and Safety Research @ RMIT, School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne 3000, Australia
MATES in Construction, Spring Hill 4000, Australia
Black Dog Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia
School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle 2308, Australia
Work, Health and Wellbeing Unit, Centre for Population Health Research, School of Health & Social Development, Deakin University, Geelong 3217, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 475;
Received: 18 December 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 31 January 2019 / Published: 6 February 2019
Suicide is a leading cause of death among young men. Help-seeking is known to be poor among this group, and little is known about what interventions are most successful in improving suicide prevention literacy among young men. This research aims to examine: (1) age differences in beliefs related to suicide prevention literacy and attitudes to the workplace in addressing mental health among male construction workers; (2) age differences in response to a workplace suicide prevention program. Pre- and post-training survey data of 19,917 male respondents were obtained from a workplace training program database. Linear regression models and predictive margins were computed. Mean differences in baseline beliefs, and belief change were obtained for age groups, and by occupation. Young men demonstrated poorer baseline suicide prevention literacy but were more likely to consider that mental health is a workplace health and safety issue. There was also evidence that young men employed in manual occupations had poorer suicide prevention literacy than older men, and young men employed in professional/managerial roles. The youngest respondents demonstrated the greatest intervention-associated change (higher scores indicating more favourable belief change) to People considering suicide often send out warning signs (predicted mean belief change 0.47, 95% CI 0.43, 0.50 for those aged 15–24 years compared to 0.38, 95% CI 0.36, 0.41 for men aged 45 years and over), and to The construction industry must do something to reduce suicide rates (predicted mean belief change 0.17, 95% CI 0.15, 0.20 for those aged 15–24 years compared to 0.12, 95% CI 0.10, 0.14 among men aged 45 years and over). Results indicate that while suicide prevention literacy may be lower among young men, this group show amenability to changing beliefs. There were some indications that young men have a greater propensity to regard the workplace as having a role in reducing suicide rates and addressing mental health, highlighting opportunity for workplace interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental health; suicide; age; men; construction workers; beliefs; intervention; workplace mental health; suicide; age; men; construction workers; beliefs; intervention; workplace
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King, T.L.; Batterham, P.J.; Lingard, H.; Gullestrup, J.; Lockwood, C.; Harvey, S.B.; Kelly, B.; LaMontagne, A.D.; Milner, A. Are Young Men Getting the Message? Age Differences in Suicide Prevention Literacy among Male Construction Workers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 475.

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