12 September is RUOK day – let’s talk about the black dog

12 September is RUOK day – let’s talk about the black dog

BGC Contracting is working with Roads and Maritime Services and Pacific Complete to deliver the Tyndale to Maclean section of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade. On this section of the upgrade, a shiny, black grader working around the Maclean interchange for BGC has been capturing the eye of workers, community members and motorists. When staff members dug a little deeper, they realised there was more than meets the eye with the black grader, than just looking good.

When Tim Hayes was ordering a new grader for his business this year, he’d recently lost a friend to suicide which prompted him to paint the recently purchased grader black to raise awareness for the Black Dog Institute. The Black Dog Institute is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to understanding, preventing and treating mental illness.

The thirty year old owner and operator of Hayes Civil, further provides his support to the Black Dog Institute by donating one dollar to the organisation for every hour he works on the grader.

“While working in the construction and mining industries, I have lost a few work mates to suicide. I myself, in the past have gotten help from them [The Black Dog Institute] when I’ve struggled with my mental health during my career” Tim said honestly. “They do really great work and it’s really important in our industry.”

After relocating to the area to work on the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade, Tim says he hopes he can stay in the area after the project and get more ‘Black Dog machinery’ to continue to increase awareness around the cause. “I really like this area on north coast and have made some really great friends here.”

Tim has also been awarded sub-contractor of the month for September by BGC. “The black grader has started a very important conversation for workers about the black dog and mental health” Adam Hart, Safety Manager for BGC explains. “Working in this industry there can be high pressures at work and also stress on home environments as some are separated from their families, friends, home and more”.

“Bringing awareness to mental health issues is vital in our attempts to tackle the prevalence of depression within our industry. R U OK? Day and the Black Dog institute are doing a marvellous job in raising this awareness.” Tim Cunningham, W2B Project Director for BGC acknowledged. Tim Hayes’ generosity and commitment toward these organisations is something that we all should admire.”  

Tim’s story is a timely reminder for RUOK day to open the dialogue around mental health. RUOK day is a national day of action dedicated to raise awareness and ask those around you “Are you okay?”. The Woolgoolga to Ballina project team will be supporting RUOK day held on Thursday 12 September, but the discussion around mental health and wellbeing is one that remains a key focus for us all year round.