New research from home improvement and repair service, Local Heroes, has today revealed that three in five (60 per cent) skilled tradespeople across the nation feel the COVID-19 outbreak has caused a negative effect on their mental health.
Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May 2020), the findings have uncovered that worries about the health of loved ones (52 per cent), financial concerns (51 per cent), redundancy fears (41 per cent) and social-distancing (40 per cent) due to the pandemic are affecting British trade workers emotional wellbeing during these unparalleled times.
According to the findings of Local Heroes’ Mental Health Study, which surveyed 500 tradesmen and women across the country, seven in 10 (70 per cent) report experiencing mental health issues, specifying stress (44 per cent), feeling low (37 per cent), anxiety (35 per cent) and depression (28 per cent). Almost half (48 per cent) of the skilled workers surveyed who have experienced a mental health concern have sought support, including taking prescribed medication (29 per cent), counselling (12 per cent) and therapy (10 per cent).
Delving into the connection between poor mental health and work life within the industry, the insights have uncovered that four in five (79 per cent) trade workers feel their job has adversely affected their emotional wellbeing, with a further 91 per cent saying they find day-to-day work stressful all the time.
Younger trade workers reportedly feel their trade worsens their emotional state the most, with 86 per cent of 18 to 34-year olds stating this compared to 65% of over 55s. The findings revealed exhaustion from long hours (36 per cent), pressure from their company (31 per cent) and income (30 per cent) are the leading reasons that tradespeople, including plumbers, electricians and plasterers, experience poor mental stability due to work.
While over half (52 per cent) of tradesmen and women feel comfortable discussing their mental health with their partner, the survey has discovered that three in five (60 per cent) feel there is still a social stigma around openly discussing mental wellbeing and over a third (34 per cent) feel uncomfortable opening up to their colleagues in the workplace when feeling stressed or down.
Aiming to uncover attitudes towards mental health within the tradespeople industry, the overriding insight which has emerged from the research is that almost half (45 per cent) of tradespeople feel that there is not enough mental health awareness and support within their industry.
"Attitudes towards mental health have changed over the past few years but unfortunately the pandemic has proved there's still much work to do,” says Camilla Benitz, Head of Local Heroes. “We're proud to work with Mental Health UK to further that conversation and provide any help we can to anyone who is struggling during this particularly difficult time."
Teaming up with Mental Health UK, Local Heroes has launched an online, Mental Health Awareness Guide for tradespeople, to help improve understanding and highlight where to seek support, including expert advice, tips and sharing people’s experiences.
“The findings from the Local Heroes survey, that the mental health of up to 60% of tradespeople has been negatively impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic, is both worrying but unfortunately not surprising,” commented Sarah Murphy, Associate Director for Advice, Information, and Training at Mental Health UK. “At this unprecedented time, concerns about your own health, and that of your families are bound to be causing stress, and this is exacerbated by loss of income also causing money worries. That is why we are delighted to be working with Local Heroes to ensure all tradespeople, and their families can improve their understanding of mental health, know how to spot the signs within themselves, their colleagues and family members, and, importantly, to know where to see help and support, both for their mental and financial health.”
*Local Heroes will be donating 10 per cent of booked job costs to Mental Health UK throughout May. To support Mental Health UK when booking a Local Heroes job, add the code MENTALHEALTHUK at checkout to apply the discount.
For further insights from the Local Heroes Mental Health Study and information around expert advice and tips, visit the Local Heroes blog. For further information on Mental Health UK and for tips, guides and resources, visit www.mentalhealth-uk.org