Mental health matters - Insight from a Local Heroes report
In April, we commissioned a survey to find out how tradespeople are faring when it comes to their mental health. With World Mental Health Day coming up this Saturday, 10th October, we want to take this opportunity to break down the key findings – and call out some simple steps for people who need help.
What’s the general state of mental health?
The broader picture of general wellbeing is a concerning one. 70% of the trade workers we spoke to revealed they were experiencing mental health issues of some kind. Of these people, 44% had experienced stress, 37% reported feeling low and 35% were suffering from anxiety.
Worryingly, less than half (48%) with mental health issues had sought support. Of those that did, 29% visited a GP, 12% had counselling and 10% had therapy.
Less than half of tradespeople suffering with mental health issues have sought supoort
Opening up about mental health is the first and often most difficult hurdle to overcome. The majority of tradespeople (52%) feel most comfortable talking to a partner or spouse about it while 33% would rather talk to their doctor.
It seems that younger people are more open to discussing their mental health, with 38% of 18 to 34-year-olds saying they had never sought help compared to 69% of over 55s.
Are you struggling with your mental health?
- Talk to someone about how you feel
- Connect with people you love and trust
- Focus on the things you can control
- Look after your physical wellbeing
- Take care of your sleep
These are our top five tips – but you’ll find more down below.
How is work affecting people’s mental health?
The impact the pressures of work have on people’s wellbeing is clear: four in five tradespeople say their job negatively affects their mental health. 91% say they find their job stressful at times, with 19% saying they feel low often or all the time.
Four out of five tradespeople say their job negatively affects their mental health
Stresses on mental health come in many forms. 36% of tradespeople feeling the strain said exhaustion had the biggest impact followed by pressure from their boss/company (31%) and income (30%).
So how do people try and relieve the pressure? 56% of people watch TV, 51% listen to music, 42% drink alcohol, 40% spend time with their family and 30% take exercise.
There is still a stigma
A sound majority (60%) within the industry say there is still a stigma attached to mental health, with well over a third (36%) saying that talking about their own mental health with colleagues makes them feel uncomfortable. 27% of people said it made them feel weak and vulnerable, while 22% said they felt embarrassed.
Nearly half (45%) of tradespeople surveyed said there simply wasn’t enough awareness or support around mental health in their industry.
What impact has coronavirus had?
Whatever our walk of life, the pandemic has been a mental health challenge to most of us.
As for the trade industry itself, it’s had a negative impact on 60% of the people we spoke to. This “negative impact” means different things to different people: 52% are worried about the health of loved ones, 51% have financial concerns and 41% are anxious about being out of work.
Steps to finding help and support
If your mental health is suffering because of your job, the impact of coronavirus or anything else, you are not alone.
According to Mental Health UK, “1 in 4 of us will be affected by mental health issues every year in the UK.” And this has been a year like no other. So what can we do to find a bit of balance?
When we did our survey, we asked tradespeople who were feeling the strain of the pandemic what outlets helped best. 54% said listening to music, 46% said exercising at home, 42% said gardening and 40% said DIY.
We also know from our partnership with Mental Health UK that routines at work and at home can be really helpful. These are simple things but they can add up to a big impact.
When you’re working…
- Get up early and start the day with a shower
- Set your working hours and stick to them
- Take plenty of breaks away from your phone
- Don’t drink too much coffee – do drink lots of water
When you’re at home…
- Avoid screen time before bed
- Steer clear of the 24/7 news cycle if it’s making you stressed
- Try and spend time in nature
- Do things that you enjoy
Making time for friends and family is really important. And as with any illness, talking about your mental health with your GP is a sensible, positive forward step to getting better again.
We would also encourage you to head to the Mental Health UK website to find out more, see what local support there is nearby and hear from people who have taken their own journeys to mental wellbeing.