30 Jan 23

Turn The Corner

Turn The Corner

On 1 December 2022, our workmate Glen Thurston set out to climb Corner Peak in Lake Hawea 53 times over 53 consecutive days. That's the equivalent of climbing Mt Everest more than 10 times!

And - he did it!

But why did he do it, and why 53 times?

Because 53 represents the number of people we lose in New Zealand to suicide in construction every year! Glen didn't want to raise any money, all he wanted to do was get people talking. To start breaking down the stigma around mental health. To create a space in our community where people could feel safe to open up.

Over those 53 days Glen took 325 people up the mountain with him, including the Dunlop Builders team! That's a lot of people out there talking - and just as many listening! The impact that this campaign has had on the Wanaka community is huge. Not everyone could make the climb, but there's hardly a person in town who hasn't been talking about the campaign. There are so many people opening up about their own experiences, and what has been achieved in just 53 days is incredible, inspiring.

On Saturday we joined a sell out evening at the Hawea Hotel to celebrate the achievement. We heard from guest speakers Matt Chisolm - television personality turned mental health advocate, Victoria McArther - Mates in Construction CEO, from Glen, and from his daughter (there wasn't a dry eye in the house after that!). While that was the end of the 53 days, for Glen  it's just the start of the journey.

So - where to from here?

If you are involved in the trades, jump on to the Mates in Construction website and get your team inducted into the programme. Mates is a community based model that raises awareness about suicide, strengthening communities in the workplace and across the industry – helping people to be supportive and provide an environment that encourages positive wellbeing. Mates Field Officers trained in suicide prevention.

If you or someone you know are struggling now, below are links to support services. If someone is in immediate danger - call 111.

List of NZ healthline services

Local and national services available