Mental health help for tradies

The cost of living crisis creates another thing to worry about – and something else to affect our mental health. It’s important to talk about this stuff, because the stats on tradie suicide are simply shocking.

In this Article:
200 Aussie tradies take their own life every year
There’s plenty of help out there
Watch out for the warning signs in your mates

Every year, almost 200 Aussies working in the trades die by suicide. That’s around four per week. Almost one every working day.

And it’s 70% higher than the national average for males employed in other industries. That’s right – you’re 2.3 times more likely to die by suicide if you’re a man and a tradie.

It’s a shocking stat, and in reality, the tough economic climate is only going to increase the mental health stress we’re all under. With prices rising, work potentially slowing down and the challenges of running your own business increasing, it’s more important than ever before to manage your mental health well – and be aware of how you’re feeling, as well as how your workmates are behaving.

Why tradies struggle with mental health

“Tradies struggle with mental health because there is a lot of pressure placed on them to work hard for long hours and perform physically demanding jobs often in harsh weather conditions,” says Edward Ross, co-founder of TradeMutt, a social enterprise workwear business founded with Daniel Allen after one of Daniel’s close friends lost his life to suicide in 2015.


“Over time, with a continual poor work/life balance, men start to feel burnt out and disconnected from their friends, their families and even themselves.”

TradeMutt’s eye-catching colourful shirts are designed to start conversations, and half of the brand’s profits are donated to confidential chat service, This is a Conversation Starter (TIACS), which Daniel and Edward both founded, too.

How funky workwear breaks down mental health barriers to save lives | Daniel Allen | TEDxBrisbane

Help for tradies mental health

TIACS is a free text and call service that gets tradies quickly connected with a counsellor for no-cost conversations and help that can remain completely confidential.

To date, TIACS has supported almost 16,500 clients and delivered over 15,000 hours of conversation, demonstrating just how great the need for mental health support is across the country.

And TIACS is just one of a number of providers offering mental health help.

Lifeline is one of Australia’s primary support services, and has a range of tools available online to help recognise symptoms and provide support to people in need. It can direct you to specific tools to help deal with situations, as well as offering a free support service via phone, text or online chat.

Mates, meanwhile, is another charity that serves people working in the construction and energy sector, and offers a range of services, including general awareness training.

Look out for your tradie mates’ mental health

Ultimately, mental health and suicide are a massive problem for men in Australia (75 per cent of suicides are male) – and particularly those who work in the trades. Females aren’t immune, of course, so don’t think this is an exclusively male thing – however, as the stats show, the likelihood of males suiciding is significantly higher.

As part of a strong workplace culture, it’s a good idea to build mental health into the day-to-day. Make it part of your culture to talk about ‘feelings’, make it part of your culture to ask about each other’s lives, what’s going on, what’s impacting your mood.

By talking about things, getting them out in the open and making them a shared problem, it’s more likely you can find a solution.

Because until we do, those figures are going to keep on increasing.

5 signs that show all is not well with your mates

Research has shown that 63 per cent of people aren’t confident they know the signs that someone might be struggling with life.

If your mates are showing any of these signs, have a chat.

1. Are they experiencing mood swings, are more withdrawn than usual or are unable to concentrate as well as they usually do?
2. Are they less interested in their appearance or personal hygiene?
3. Are they losing interest in something they were previously really engaged with?
4. Are they experiencing relationship or health issues?
5. Have they recently lost someone or something they care about?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then it’s likely they’ll need a friendly face and a good ear. It may be a step away from the usual pisstakes and banter, but ask your mate if he or she needs to talk. That’s what being a good workmate is all about.

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