R U OKAY DAY 2022
“Are you okay?”
It seems like an easy question to ask, and is just as easy to answer with our automatic response of ‘Yeah, I'm fine, how are you?’
But, how often do you answer with the truth? How often do you ask that question expecting an honest answer?
The reality is, it’s not that easy to let people know when you’re not feeling great.
Unfortunately, that reluctance to share is far more common in men and male dominated industries - trades specifically.
Mental Illness In The Trade Industry
Most Aussies imagine your average tradie as a hard working laid back bloke who loves a tinnie at the end of a long day's work.
It is an image that has been cultivated over many years and while there may be some truth to this cliche, it’s missing the bigger picture.
In Australia, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018) and this stat gets even worse in the male dominated trades industry.
Indeed, as of 2017, the suicide rate for men in the trades industry was almost twice that of men in any other industry.
Why Is Mental Health So Poor In The Trade Industry?
While it might be a cliche it is also unfortunately a fact that people working in traditionally “masculine” workplaces such as tradespeople are far less likely to divulge if they are having a hard time mentally.
Tradespeople are also often subject to very long work days and lack of work/life balance. This is especially common in businesses that offer 24/7 service without enough staff to do so in a sustainable fashion.
These long days lead to lack of proper rest which can cause increased stress and burnout and also increases the risk of mistakes. This compounds the issue further as technicians will have to work even longer to fix the mistake while taking a hit to their self-esteem.
One of the most recognisable parts of the poor mental health puzzle goes back to that classic image we have of tradies guzzling beers at the pub after knock off.
With all this stress: the pressure of long hours, the poor work/life balance and a traditionally macho culture that doesn’t take kindly to heartfelt conversations about anxiety or depression, it’s no surprise that many tradies turn to booze to suppress their stress.
Add to all this the impact of lockdowns and extreme burnout and we have a serious problem on our hands.
Lets face it, Victorians especially have been through an incredibly turbulent time over the past few years and frankly it would be a little strange if we hadn’t been affected by it.
We are not about to take any of this lightly - and you shouldn’t either.
What Can We Do To Change This?
Ensuring all 181 Electricals qualified technicians health and wellbeing is incredibly important to us.
Not only does it mean our friendly electricians will actually have a good time at work each day but health, concentration and adequate rest are especially important for all tradies who are working in potentially dangerous situations.
Chuck electricity in the mix and poor ability to concentrate could be life threatening.
That’s why, this year we decided to take R U OK day very seriously.
Not only did our professional electricians don TradeMutt shirts on site but we also gathered all our staff and took the time to conduct a meeting discussing the importance of mental health and reaching out if you are struggling.
But what else were we offering our Melbourne electricians? How else can we make sure they are happy and healthy?
We do not currently guarantee 24/7 electrical service.
Our qualified electricians are only required to work during standard operating hours. While we do complete emergency jobs outside of these standard hours it is on a case by case basis. Our qualified electricians can choose if they want to work these extra hours for more pay if they have capacity. This helps to protect our A-Grade electricians from burnout and ensures all work carried out is at the highest standard.
We offer and encourage the use of Mental Health services
We have a centralised Mental Health Info document listing all resources we recommend and offer to our staff.
This list is provided to all employees so they can access help without having to discuss the issue with another staff member if they want to keep it private.
We offer Annual Wellbeing Leave
All staff are entitled to 2 days of annual leave for their wellbeing per year. This can be used for whatever they want and doesn’t need to be explained to the manager. We offer these days in hopes of increasing our professional electricians work/life balance and reducing the risk of burnout.
If all this paints a picture of a workplace you would like to be part of, please do not hesitate to apply to join our team of qualified electricians today →
This Is A Conversation Starter
You may be wondering why our Melbourne electricians wore these crazy looking shirts on site and what on earth that has to do with mental health →
TradeMutt is a social impact fashion brand making workwear to start conversations about mental health (primarily mens and tradespeoples mental health) while also funding and donating to a number of mental health organisations.
This includes their own not-for-profit mental health support service TIACS (This Is A Conversation Starter). A free text and call support service providing easy access to mental health clinicians.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with their mental health, know you are not alone and there are many resources that can offer help.
TIACS (This Is A Conversation Starter)
Offers - Free counselling support via call or text.
Contact No.: 0488 846 988
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-10pm AEST
Offers - Free information and support programs including support via phone and online for issues such as anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
Contact No.: 1300 224 636
Operating Hours: 24/7
Offers - Free mental health and crisis prevention support via phone, text and online.
Contact No.: 13 11 14
Operating Hours: 24/7