Mental Health & Tradies
The average Australian tradie is often stereotyped as being strong, unemotional and easy going. Expecting people to live up to this image is completely unrealistic at the best of times, and now more than ever. As a result of this pressure to meet the stereotype, many tradies try to be stoic and push negative feelings to the back of their minds, avoiding discussing any issues with friends and family so as not to appear weak. While tradies will openly chat about physical health, the discussion of mental health is still regarded as somewhat taboo (particularly on the job site) and as a result, is often avoided until someone's at their breaking point. This culture helps contribute to these alarming stats:
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15-44
- Approximately 75% of suicides in Australia each year are men
- Suicide rates are almost 2 times higher for male construction workers than men in any other industry
- Tradies are 6 times more likely to die as a result of suicide than from a workplace incident
If you're struggling, get help. It's never far away. If you don't feel comfortable talking to a friend or family member, there are a number of resources designed specifically for tradies which can put you in touch with professionals, provide you with tips to better manage your mental health, or if someone you know is struggling, they can give you a better understanding of what they might be going through.
This Is A Conversation Starter (TIACS) offers a free text, chat and call back service which helps to connect individuals that are seeking counselling services with qualified professionals. As you're speaking with qualified psychologists, any information you provide is kept confidential, with exceptions such as if you pose a threat yourself or others.To access this service, you can call or text:0488 846 988. Between the hours of:9:30am - 5:00pm / Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday9:30am - 9:00pm / Tuesday. If you leave a message outside of those hours, they'll get back to you as soon as possible.They also regularly upload blogs and interviews which cover topics such as how to make the first steps to contact a psychologist, mental wellness, and how to keep your mind healthy.
An initiative started by WorkSafe as a part of last month's Tradie National Health Month, WorkWell offers a free toolkit which is designed to help business leaders and owners with creating a mentally healthy workplace. Once you've created an account, you're able to select from a number of action steps such as:
- Early Intervention
- Risk of Mental Injury
- Plus many more
Each action provides an overview of the benefits of addressing the issue and step-by-step guides on how you can implement this in your workplace. You can create a free account here.
MATES in Construction
The team at MATES offer a suicide prevention and awareness service which is aimed at construction workers. If you're in trouble, feeling down or just need a chat, they offer 24/7 support at:1300 642 111MATES also provide workplace training in improving mental health and suicide prevention literacy. You can find out more here.
One of Australia's best known services, Lifeline offers short-term support to any individual experiencing emotional distress. They offer:
- 24/7 phone support - call 13 11 14
- Nightly SMS support (6:00pm - 12:00am) - text 0477 13 11 14
- Nightly online chat service (7:00pm - 12:00am)
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, please reach out to one of the above resources, a loved one, or a professional. There's always help available.
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