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Opening up about mental health with Toolstation

clock 4 months ago

The trade has a significant mental health problem, and we want to talk about it.

According to research by On The Tools and Toolstation, more than 4 in 10 workers in construction have experienced poor mental wellbeing within the past year. It’s clear that changes must be made to shrink this number, and we believe that the first step is to have open and honest discussions.

Enter: “Mental Health Under Construction”, a new On The Tools podcast in partnership with Toolstation.

In every episode, we talk to celebrities, experts and tradespeople to better understand the health issues in the construction industry.

Find out more about the podcast and what we covered in the first episode…

The situation:

When discussing the mental wellbeing situation in the construction industry, we wanted to be thorough and honest from the get-go.

So, alongside Toolstation, we asked 501 UK tradespeople from the On The Tools community, across Facebook and Instagram, about their experiences with mental health and well-being.

Only 6.39% of tradespeople told us they would rate their wellbeing within the last 12 months as ‘very good’. On the other hand, 81.04% of tradespeople told us that their mental ill-health interferes with their ability to work sometimes, often, or extremely often.

Why we want to talk about it:

Nearly a quarter (24.55%) of tradespeople told us that they have a medical diagnosis of stress. The second most common mental diagnosis among tradespeople who took our survey is clinical depression (16.97%).

But, when we checked whether they were comfortable talking about their mental health issues, 44.91% of tradespeople strongly disagreed or disagreed.

It’s clear that while mental ill-health is a relatively common experience among tradespeople, not enough is being done to create a space where people can be open, honest, and supportive. According to our research with Toolstation, 72.54% of tradespeople across the On The Tools community on Facebook and Instagram agree that not enough is being done to support mental wellbeing in the construction industry.

What we covered in the first episode:

In the first episode of the Mental Health Under Construction podcast by On The Tools, in partnership with Toolstation, we discuss anxiety disorders with Director of Mind Health Solutions, Ryan Ridgway, therapist and OCD specialist India Haylor, and tradesperson Paddy, who has a diagnosis of OCD: a form of anxiety.

When we, alongside Toolstation, asked UK tradespeople from the On The Tools community to tell us about their experiences with mental health, 16.17% told us that they were diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. Paddy suggested the reasons behind such high anxiety levels among tradespeople:

“The way that the modern world is, now, I think things are getting tougher. I think because the construction industry is so old-school, it’s tough for people to express how they feel. This can make the feelings worse.”

Even though experiences with one kind of mental illness can vary from tradesperson to tradesperson, it’s important to understand how to look out for signs of mental ill-health in yourself and your workmates. Host Ryan Ridgeway and tradesperson Rosie describe their personal experiences with depression in the latest episode:

“If I had to identify how I felt when I was depressed, I’d say numb. Detached from reality.”

– Ryan Ridgeway

“I remember feeling like I was lower than other people because I was a decorator; depression comes out in negative thoughts.”

– Rosie Russell, painter & decorator

If you’re looking for mechanisms to maintain your mental health, want to campaign for more effective well-being support, or you’re just interested in finding out more about the situation, listen to the Mental Health Under Construction podcast by On The Tools, in partnership with Toolstation now.

Which was your favourite episode? Let us know what you think about the podcast.

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On the Tools is the largest online construction based community in the UK. Our mission to 'connect construction' is rooted in the belief that those in the construction industry deserve the same opportunities as those within the white collar world.

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