November 24, 2020

Survey reveals almost a third of tradespeople experienced a mental health illness during pandemic

Toolstation is furthering its work with Time to Change to support the ‘Ask Twice’ initiative today, (Thursday 19th November) to mark International Men’s Day. The campaign sets out to spread awareness of mental health issues, offering advice and guidance to encourage people to ask twice if they suspect a friend, family member, or colleague might be struggling with their mental health.

Recent findings by Toolstation highlight the devastating impacts of the pandemic on tradespeople. 27% of all those surveyed stated that they have experienced a mental health illness, citing career (36%) and finances (41%) as main concerns, with a noticeable spike in over half of respondents under 35 echoing these reasons. Indicating the lack of support amongst young people in the trades around mental health as they continue to worry about the insecurity of their jobs.

A large contributing factor to this is the lack of ‘safe space’ to have face to face discussions (64%) as a result of lockdown restrictions, with all respondents highlighting the pub (42%) and doing an activity together (30%) as preferred places.

To support its customers, as part of the campaign and its work with Time To Change to raise awareness of mental health, Toolstation is providing important and necessary practical guidance and digital resources through its dedicated hub on its website (toolstation.com/headfirst) and social channels. 

Internally, Toolstation is also active at promoting positive mental health amongst colleagues. Its dedicated Wellbeing Centre on its internal intranet provides health and advice on all topics across mental health, movement, food and money. The retailer also provides a code for colleagues to subscribe to an app called Thrive for free – a useful app offering a huge range of mental wellbeing resources, including cognitive behavioural therapy, through to meditation and mindfulness. In addition, Toolstation provides a link to the Employee Assistance Programme which is an independent resource run by Care First, which helps with work based or personal issues and can offer counselling. 

Greg Richardson, Head of Marketing at Toolstation, said the ‘Ask Twice’ initiative is needed now more than ever: “We’re happy to be supporting this initiative as part of our wider work to support the mental health of both our colleagues and customers during particularly testing times.”

To support men,Time to Change has compiled five tips to help get their friends to open up:

1.      Ask Twice: Sometimes we say we’re fine when we’re not. To really find out, ask twice. It shows you’re willing to be there and listen – now or when your friend is ready.

2.      It doesn’t have to be a video call. It can feel intense to speak or chat over a video call. Text, send a meme, or try a virtual activity together. However you check in, it will mean a lot.

3.      It’s easy to say “that sounds tough” Show you care and that you’re taking in what they’re saying.

4.      An open ear reduces fear. Listen – it is often more important than talking. 

5.      Be a friend, don’t mend. You don’t have to fix it, just being there will mean a lot.

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said: “The world has changed but being a good friend doesn’t have to. 2020 has been tough for everyone and while the full impact of the pandemic on our mental health is still unknown, our research shows that many men are struggling. With fewer chances to see each other face-to-face, we could be missing signs that our friends are struggling. Even if someone says they’re fine, they might not be. So if there’s a friend who’s gone a bit quiet on the group chat – reach out. Ask how they are and ask twice. If there’s a friend you usually only see at the gym, or at the pub – check-in.”

For more information on this campaign visit: www.toolstation.com/news/article/if-your-mates-acting-differently-ask-twice.