FTMA Partnering with the Kidd Family

This piece was written by FTMA’s Kat Welsh.

If anything positive can come out of extreme tragedy, we hope this will be one of those ripple effects. FTMA, in partnership with Dean and Tammy Kidd, founders of Kidd Truss, have been working on something that will set off wellbeing awareness, across Australian fabricators. On 16th April, Dean and Tammy, addressed some 160 staff at AAA Advanced Trusses, at the plant site in Dandenong South. The hopes? To open up discussions through sharing their story of losing their son Jackson to suicide, and, what we can all do to support each other.

“Tammy and I, our role is to conduct talks like today’s, to raise awareness and assist employers and staff within our industry to identify and support people at risk. We just want to start conversations,” Dean said in his opening to the team. He asked the crowd to put a hand up if they had been impacted directly by someone suiciding. The hands that went up across the group, made a strong point – many have shared grief in this space. In Australia, an average of 9 people lose their life to suicide each day (statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare). Each number is a person, a loved one. This is something the Kidds want to assist in changing, particularly for the frame and truss sector, from their lived experiences, and the learning they have developed around suicide preventions. It is an admirable challenge to try and find something positive in their journey of Jackson’s passing, to reduce others having to go through similar. Sometimes the most meaningful changes can come from those able to campaign following disaster – Rosie Batty, Grace Tame,  Sue and Lloyd Clark.

AAA, were awarded the inaugural Jackson Kidd Wellbeing Award at last month’s FTMA National Conference dinner, and invited Dean and Tammy to come and speak to staff as part of their monthly team wellbeing program. It was an opportunity to begin the pathway of introducing the Jackson Kidd Wellbeing Initiative – a program that will see Dean and Tammy visiting more plants across Australia.

The Jackson Kidd Wellbeing Initiative will be developed over the coming months to respond to the needs of the F&T industry, given that construction has one of the highest suicide rates out of employment fields in Australia. The feedback and outcome of the visit to AAA has been an important part of giving permission for people to open up, highlighting the impacts suicide has, and the benefits of starting these conversations – conversations that are hard to have, but fundamental in supporting suicide prevention strategies, and demonstrating the importance of consistent positive workplace culture that absolutely does contribute to people’s welfare and connection.

“I’m encouraged after one talk that people are engaged to develop skills and knowledge to help others. A force of care has been duplicated already. It is so worthwhile,” Tammy said following the visit to AAA. “I believe workplaces are the best opportunity to reach the greatest number of people, those who want to support and those who need support and for everyone else it’s understanding and awareness. All are working toward saving a life.”

FTMA is deeply committed to wellbeing across the frame and truss industry, and the visit to AAA is just the beginning. We extend our thanks to AAA for being an incredible host, and to Dean and Tammy for their courage and strength in opening the door for these conversations to begin. We look forward to bringing more updates soon about the Jackson Kidd Wellbeing Initiative.

If you or anyone you know needs help, please reach out:

Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or chat online.

Suicide Call Back Service provides 24/7 support if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal. Call 1300 659 467.

Beyond Blue aims to increase awareness of depression and anxiety and reduce stigma. If you or a loved one need help, you can call 1300 22 4636, 24 hours/7 days a week or chat online.

MindSpot is a free telephone and online service for people with anxiety, stress, low mood or depression. It provides online assessment and treatment for anxiety and depression. MindSpot is not an emergency or instant response service. Call 1800 61 44 34.

Head to Health gives advice and will connect you to local mental health services. Call 1800 595 212.

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