Starting mental health conversations in the construction industry

600 tradespeople turned out to hear from mental health advocate Mike King at Switched On Group’s industry education event.

600 tradespeople turned out to hear from mental health advocate Mike King at Switched On Group’s industry education event.

As part of their social impact strategy, Switched On Group has been implementing a series of mental health education initiatives for their staff and construction industry partner businesses. Following the business owners’ personal experience with suicide, the Hughes family wanted to use their knowledge to open up a wider conversation about mental health. The release of New Zealand statistics revealing the extremely high rates of suicide in the industry further encouraged the family-owned business to speak up.

Ngātahi Communications worked with the Switched On Group team to build media engagement surrounding an event with mental health advocate Mike King. The aim was to inspire event attendees and other businesses in the industry across Aotearoa to get proactive about discussing mental health.

More than 600 of Switched On’s staff and partner tradespeople attended the event, and together we successfully started a nationwide conversation. Prior to the event, Chief Executive Chris Hughes was featured on Newstalk ZB, the front page of The Press in Christchurch, The AM Show live, Newshub, and on Stuff.co.nz. Radio New Zealand and One News attended the event and it was covered on the 6pm news and as a radio feature interview as a result.

Engagement was further enhanced through the use of Switched On’s social media, internal communications channels and stakeholder newsletters. This activity ensured that the team maximised the value of the media coverage gained.

The result was a huge success, with buy-in from all national media outlets and countless positive conversations started with a range of industry stakeholders. Switched On is now becoming seen as not just a local leader, but a national leader in the mental health and social impact space.