AN INIATIVE to help provide support to the mental health and wellbeing needs of those working in the trade, called Head First, has been launched by Toolstation.
Working with the mental health anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change, Head First will encourage the trade to be more open in talking about their own mental health and supportive of others who may be struggling, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. To start, it will offer practical guidance and signposted resources via a dedicated hub on toolstation.com.
Mental Health Awareness Week
The launch in Mental Health Awareness Week (18 – 24 May) comes after a survey of 5,000 Toolstation customers, which found that one third are finding the current situation very challenging.
Almost half (45%) of respondents said that the mental wellbeing of family members and friends was their main challenge, concern or worry at this time, and 25% stated that they were most concerned about their own mental wellbeing.
James MacKenzie, Managing Director at Toolstation said the Head First initiative is needed now more than ever: “Our customer survey has highlighted the damaging impact Covid-19 is having on the livelihood of tradespeople, with 61% reporting the work challenges they face and almost one third sharing the concern that they will go out of business.
“Against this backdrop, being aware and talking openly and without any shame or embarrassment about how you and others are feeling mentally is more important than ever – as is having quick and easy access to information and organisations that can provide support.”
The Toolstation survey adds to evidence that stress, depression or anxiety are major issues amongst tradespeople, including the shocking Office for National Statistics figures showing that men working in skilled trades had the second-highest risk of suicide of occupational groups – accounting for 29% (3,059 out of 10,688) of all male suicides.
In response, the Head First campaign is launching with a dedicated area on the Toolstation website www.toolstation/headfirst.com that contains easy to find information and advice from Time to Change that will help tradespeople notice when things are getting too much, and what to do about it.
Take home tip
One basic take home tip is to ask twice when someone says they’re okay – to get past the automatic response we all first say and uncover the real way people are feeling.
Jo Loughran, Director at Time to Change, said, “By working with Toolstation, we hope to open up the conversation about mental health among people in the trade who might be reluctant to chat freely about their emotions or feelings. Simply providing people with the confidence to support their friends or colleagues has the power to change lives, and it doesn’t need to be difficult or scary.”
Everyone, whether they’re a Toolstation customer or not, is encouraged to visit www.toolstation.com/headfirst to read and share the advice guides on getting support or providing it to someone you know. Campaign social media posts can be followed and shared using #tradeheadfirst.