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Coronavirus, tradespeople and mental health

Posted on 5/12/2020

A study for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is taking its toll on many people’s mental health across the UK.

Leading up to Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 (18-24 May), hosted by Mental Health Foundation, we’ve teamed up with Mental Health UK to conduct a survey aimed at finding out how tradespeople are coping in lockdown and in their work in general.

70% of tradespeople have reported experiencing various mental health issues during the ongoing lockdown

The results are revealing and concerning, with no less than 70% of trade workers reporting experiencing mental health issues and 60% feeling that the Coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected their mental health.

Here are the results in full, along with some information on what we’re doing here at Local Heroes to support Mental Health Awareness Week 2020.

General mental health

Our survey showed seven out of 10 trade workers report experiencing mental health issues

Of the 500 tradespeople surveyed across the country, a worrying 70% reported experiencing mental health issues like stress (44%), feeling low (37%), anxiety (35%) and depression (28%).

Mental Health in Tradespeople results graph

Nearly half of those experiencing mental health issues have sought mental health support in the past 12 months

48% say they’ve sought mental health support. Interestingly, younger age groups are more likely to seek help than older groups, with 69% of over 55s saying they have not sought mental health support in the last 12 months versus only 38% of 18 to 34-year-olds.

Mental health and work

Looking at the connection between mental health issues and work life within the industry, our survey has shown that four in five (79%) of the trade workers feel their job has negatively affected their emotional wellbeing, while 19% said they find day-to-day work stressful often or all the time.

The findings also revealed that exhaustion from long hours (36%), pressure from their company (31%) and income (30%) are the leading reasons why tradespeople experience mental health issues due to work.

Coronavirus and mental health

Our study also asked about the impact of the current Coronavirus pandemic.

Three in five (60%) say that coronavirus has had a negative effect on their mental health.

Worries about loved ones’ health (53%) and financial concerns (51%) are the main culprits, while 41% reported worries about losing their job and/or being out of work.

Still a stigma. Still not enough support.

Perhaps the most worrying statistic our study found is that three in five tradesmen and women (60%) feel there’s still a social stigma around openly discussing mental wellbeing.

Also, the research showed that almost half (45%) of tradespeople feel there is not enough mental health awareness and support within their industry.

To dig a little deeper, we spoke to some of our own Local Heroes who agreed that the issue of stigma and support is something we need to look at.

“I still think there’s a stigma attached to it. A lot of people need to talk about it more.”

Michael Stratton, Northern Home Services in Sunderland

Michael also said one of the issues is a concern over what customers might think:

Michael Stratton and Stefan Rose Local Heroes Michael Stratton (L) and Stefan Rose (R)

“You don’t know how a customer is going to respond to something like this. Potentially they could look elsewhere, because there’s a lot of competition in our business.”

Interestingly, he named a sports star whose public battle with depression he thinks has been instrumental in breaking down the stigma:

Tyson Fury Boxer Tyson Fury has openly discussed serious issues with his mental health

“Tyson Fury, I mean he’s the one that stands out from me. Coming out… in a worldwide sport and he’s top of the game. I think he’s brought the awareness right up.”

Stefan Rose of SFR Plumbing and Heating in Leeds, another Local Hero we spoke to, told us that for many tradespeople, stress is still something dealt with behind closed doors:

“A friend of mine in the same sort of industry, I’ve had him tell me that he’s going through a bit of stress. But he’s not gone into detail.”

We asked Stefan if he would speak to anyone about his own mental health concerns:

“If I’ve got a real concern then yes, I will speak to somebody about it. If I was anxious about something, I would always speak to my partner first and get a bit of support from her.”

“If I was anxious about something, I would always speak to my partner first and get a bit of support from her.”

Stefan Rose, SFR Plumbing and Heating in Leeds

Lastly, we asked him if he’d be interested in attending a mental health awareness course organised by us, he said:

“Yeah I think it’d be interesting. It’d be good because there’s a lot of people out there that might have issues and they might not be aware of it.”

Local Heroes Mental Health Awareness

If you’re a tradesperson currently affected by any of the issues above, or you have family or friends who you think might be, the important thing to know is there is a variety of support available.

Mental Health UK have developed Mental Health Truths and Clic, which provides information on where to seek mental health support, including expert advice, tips, case studies and an online forum.

To find some more information on mental health, and contact numbers that will put you in touch with a professional, the best place to go is the Mental Health UK website.

10% donations to Mental Health UK

Finally, throughout May we’ll also be donating 10% of the cost of every job to Mental Health UK when our customers use the code MENTALHEALTHUK.

So, if you or anyone you know needs some essential repair or fitting done, why not call a Local Hero and help fund an important cause.

Book a Local Hero and donate to Mental Health UK

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