Hunter based companies work together to improve wellbeing and performance of male staff

Hunter based companies work together to improve wellbeing and performance of male staff

According to a report from Deakin University, approximately 200 construction and trade workers die by suicide in Australia every year. While this isn’t the only industry with high suicide rates, it’s one that is often overlooked.

Additionally, Beyond Blue states that on average, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives.

Men’s mental and physical health has always been an area in need of serious discussion within businesses and was the inspiration behind the creation of the Check5 Program.

Dean Noonan, former Newcastle Knights Wellbeing Manager, launched the program two years ago after he saw a gap in the market for quality wellbeing programs for businesses.

After undertaking extensive research to develop the program, Dean took the sporting principles learned from his time assisting NRL teams and applied it to an ongoing process which consistently checks in with participants.

“A lot of businesses will look at implementing a discussion around mental and physical health, but without the principle of process you’re not going to get anywhere with your staff,” Dean said.

Dean believes the program is successful because it is consistently implemented and it’s a one-of-a-kind system.

“A one-off chat about health and wellbeing is going to be forgotten in a short amount of time.”

“By having regular conversations and coaching, staff are reminded to look after themselves, and there’s someone on their team if they really need the help,” Dean said.

Introducing a focus on the health and wellbeing of staff was the main priority for Lake Macquarie company, Air Extreme Air Conditioning, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their company has majority male staff, working physically demanding jobs, five days a week. Co-Directors of Air Extreme, Mick and Justin Bull knew there was a need to implement a program that addressed all areas of health for their team.

“Mental health was a significant driving factor for reaching out to Check5 for support. We know that young tradesmen are three times more likely to commit suicide than the average male and that there’s a stigma in trade-based businesses for staff to look after their physical health and forget their mental wellbeing,” Mick said.

“We always strive to support our staff in all areas of their life to ensure they are able to do their job well and enjoy life outside of work, so accessing a program that addresses all areas of wellbeing was vital for us,” Mick said.

The Check5 Program focuses on five areas of wellbeing and performance: health, financial situation, relationships, work, and leisure.

“Dean came to our office and trained some of our key staff members to be coaches for our team and we’ve since had ongoing contact with him about the program and how it’s going.”

“Our staff have become real pioneers for the program and we’re seeing the results shine through at work, but also through their discussions around relationships,” Mick said.

As a component of the program, staff are asked to a complete a regular anonymous survey where they rate their wellbeing in the five areas on a scale from one to five.

Anyone rating below a three is contacted by their coach to discuss how they’re feeling and provided resources which can help them.

Since beginning the program in their business, Mick and his fellow coaches have seen a huge improvement in the confidence of their team to speak about normally ‘taboo’ issues.

“We were drawn to the program because there really isn’t anything else like it,” Mick said.

“Since starting we’ve seen a positive change in attitude and their overall wellbeing from our team both at work and outside.”

“We want good players on and off the field so to speak and if they’re struggling at home, they’re going to continue to struggle at work too.”

“The program is working to change the wellbeing of our team and we highly encourage other businesses to invest in Check5. It really changes lives,” Mick concluded.


IMAGE | Dean Noonan working with the Air Extreme team

Air Extreme

As a market leader in the air conditioning industry, thanks to their qualified air conditioning installers and mechanics, Air Extreme is often the choice of the trade.


The Air Extreme team has built their reputation through providing exceptional customer service from our skilled technicians who deliver expert advice and high-quality work. Their people-centred approach to business, commitment to modern technology and processes, and our fun and friendly team culture, is what sets them apart from other businesses operating in the same trade.


The Air Extreme team’s ongoing focus is to always ensure complete customer

satisfaction. They also highly value their people and have an unwavering commitment to, and focus on, safety. They place critical importance on occupational health and safety procedures to ensure everyone goes home safely every day. All their employees are fully qualified and up to date with OH&S standards and demonstrate best-practice at all times when on the job.

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