September 29, 2020

NFRC backs Samaritans’ campaign following lockdown impact on mental health

The UK’s largest roofing trade association, NFRC, is backing a new campaign from Samaritans, Real People Real Stories, which aims to use real life stories to reach men struggling to cope reaching crisis point and encourage them to seek help.

As part of the campaign Samaritans are sharing new research of the impact of lockdown measures on the mental health of working-age (18-59) men, which showed two-in-five (42%) men felt that the Covid-19 restrictions had had a negative impact on their mental health.

Almost half (47%) of respondents had felt feelings of anxiety (47%), a similar number experienced loneliness and/or isolation (42%), and just over a third (34%) said lockdown put a strain on their relationships.

However, 40% of respondents said that talking to others helped with the concerns and worries they had during lockdown, showing the importance of seeking help and getting support when they needed it.

Real People, Real Stories runs from 11 August to 27 September and aims to reach men aged 18-59 years and above who are feeling low and struggling to cope. Men who have found life tough, experienced depression or suicidal thoughts have written words of support to other men and these will feature in films, shared across social media, radio, buses and TV. You can also support by following the campaign @samaritanscharity on Instagram or on Twitter @samaritans or Facebook, using the hashtag #RealPeopleRealStories.

NFRC Head of Technical, Bob Richardson, commented: “We strongly welcome Samaritans’ Real People, Real Stories campaign. This new research paints a troubling picture of the affect that lockdown has had on the mental health of working-age men, such as loneliness, anxiety and financial worries. Samaritans want to use this campaign to reach anyone who is struggling during this pandemic, to prevent them from reaching crisis point, and show the importance of seeking help.

“Sadly, suicide is still one of the biggest killers in construction, taking on average two lives a day, with roofing being one of the occupations with the highest risk – almost three times more than the average. That is why NFRC are working with the Samaritans to explore different ways of supporting tradesmen in construction who may be struggling, and welcome this initiative.

“This campaign offers a positive alternative, by showing real life stories of men who have sought help and overcome tough times. If you know someone who is finding things difficult at the moment, then encourage them to seek help. Anyone can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123, 24 hours a day 365 days a year or visit Samaritans.org to explore their self-help tools and information.”

Samaritans Executive Director of External Affairs, Paul McDonald, commented: “This pandemic has brought unexpected change and uncertainty, which will have a lasting impact on everyone’s mental health and wellbeing. At Samaritans we know that less well off, middle-aged men have remained the highest risk group for suicide in the UK for decades and that the restrictions put in place during lockdown such as isolation and disconnection will have exacerbated problems for these men.

“We understand the value of listening and the power of human connection, particularly at this time when so many people are dealing with overwhelming thoughts and feelings. We know that sharing stories of recovery does encourage men to seek help, so we hope that our Real People, Real Stories campaign can help other men to see that they can do it too and know that Samaritans is always there when they want to talk.”