This is an edited version of the Editor's Comment from our May/June 2021 issue.
With the continued measured ‘unlocking’ of the country taking place in England and parts of Scotland on 17 May, and COVID-19 case numbers remaining relatively low, there continues to be cause for optimism going forward. However, it’s important to remember that the last 14 months have been harrowing for much of the British population. As such, mental resilience has been pushed to the absolute breaking point for many.
This year’s recent Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May), run by the Mental Health Foundation, came as a excellent reminder that ‘back to normal’ is not going to be easy for everyone, even those tradespeople who have continued to operate relatively normally (aside from social distancing and additional hygiene procedures) during the pandemic.
A recent study of 500 tradespeople by IronmongeryDirect found that nearly half (49%) experience mental health problems due to work-related issues. And almost three-fifths (58%) experience some form of stress, anxiety, or depression at least once a week.
These are significant numbers, and although awareness is an important starting point, it’s more important that we as an industry do what we can to ensure that tradespeople are aware of what options are open to them if they are not coping.
On top of the national charities, such as Mind (mind.org.uk) and the Samaritans (samaritans.org), there are also some construction-specific organisations which are able to help support both businesses and individuals.
Mates in Mind is a charity aimed at helping businesses in the trades better understand mental health problems and provide staff with the resources they need to identify and accommodate those individuals who are suffering, so if you are a business owner who wants to support your employees then matesinmind.org could be of help.
There are also online communities, such as MENTalk on Facebook, which encourage tradespeople to open up and support each other with mental health issues.
The pandemic has shown us it’s more important than ever to pay attention to these issues.
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