Busy dad to four, PhD researcher asks men to find time for mental health this Father's Day

30 August 2022

A CQUniversity PhD student researching suicide in the construction industry is challenging dads to make time for mental health this Father's Day.

Michael Bowles' a Brisbane dad of four' knows first-hand how the pressures of parenting can lead to anxiety and stress.

"Most of us live busy' hectic lives and often forget about our mental health and wellbeing'" he said.

"Unfortunately' there is still a stigma with males opening up about their own mental health battles."

Michael began his research after experiencing his own mental health challenges' working extremely long hours in a stressful construction role.

"It came to a point where it was almost my health and my family' or my work'" he explained.

"I was one of those people who would hate to speak out' and it took me four or five years to actually have the courage to speak to someone about it."

Last year' Michael began his PhD' exploring ways to improve mental health in the high-stress industry.

"An Australian construction worker will commit suicide every two days' but you don't hear about that'" he said.

"But obviously if that is happening' there is something wrong with the industry' and I think it's the industry as a whole that needs to look at what's driving that - for instance if you work 80 hours a week' what's that stress doing to workers' and what are the impacts for your organisation?"

"There is actually no research out there at the moment about how the suicide of a construction worker impacts an organisation and its staff' so I'm looking specifically at how it impacts productivity' as well as just the emotional devastation for families and friends."

Mr Bowles hopes his research will support the construction industry to create a better environment for mental health – including for fathers like him.

"I encourage all men' and especially those juggling busy lives and parenting' to take five minutes out of the day' to stop and think about how you are feeling'" he said.

"Maybe grab a notebook and write it down' then share it with someone whom you feel comfortable with… small steps will help you grow your self-care."

Michael is seeking current and former construction industry workers to participate in his research study' via interviews on Zoom or in person.

Participants can register their interest in contributing to this important research via https://cqu.syd1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_22WWMpHvWsCrwzQ or by emailing Michael.Bowles@cqumail.com.