Vic 'Big Blue' excavator for mental health

Benita Kolovos

An excavator has been painted blue by a Victorian construction company to raise awareness of the industry's high suicide rates.

Winslow Constructors unveiled the huge Hitachi ZX360 excavator, dubbed Big Blue, on Tuesday in an effort to get construction workers to talk about their mental health.

"The construction industry has a major mental health issue and as a company ... we are determined to make a difference," general manager Rohan Davidson said.

Construction workers are twice as likely to commit suicide than workers in any other industry, data from the National Coronial Information System shows.

Partly to blame is the tough culture of construction, with many men unable to talk about their feelings, Mr Davidson said.

"We all know construction workers generally don't talk easily about this stuff, but we know that even the most tough and resilient people can find themselves succumbing to anxiety and depression."

He hopes Big Blue, which will be stationed at a Wollert building site, will remind workers on the job they don't need to suffer alone.

"Big Blue is an eye-catching way to get the message out into the field that everyone must take action if they find themselves anxious, depressed or even suicidal, or if they know of a friend or colleague who is," Mr Davidson said.

"There must be no stigma attached to mental illness - we urge our colleagues to speak up if they need help."

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.