Half of UK tradespeople experience mental health problems 

For World Mental Health Day (10 October), a mental health expert has shared their top pieces of advice for UK tradespeople, after research revealed that more than four in five (82%) experience mental health problems due to work-related issues. 

The research was commissioned by IronmongeryDirect and the results have been published in its annual industry report. 

It found that almost two-thirds (64%) of tradespeople experience some form of mental health problem, such as stress, anxiety or depression, every month, and sadly, one in eight (13%) feel symptoms every single day. 

Finances remain the number one cause of stress, with over a third (34%) saying that money worries play on their mind. In fact, the top five reasons are the same as last year, with customer tensions (24%) taking second spot once again. 

The most significant change from 2021 is the impact of customer abuse, with almost a fifth (18%) saying they struggle with insults or threats, which is treble the figure from the previous report (6%). 

The top 10 most common causes of stress for tradespeople are: 

#  Issue  % 
1  Finances  34% 
2  Tensions with customers  24% 
3  High workload  23% 
4  Tensions with business partners  21% 
5  Tensions with suppliers  20% 
6  Job security  19% 
7  Making mistakes at work  19% 
8  Abuse from customers  18% 
9  Risk of catching COVID-19  18% 
10  Doing the best job you can for customers  15% 

Unfortunately, despite the benefits of doing so, more than four in five (85%) tradespeople don’t feel comfortable talking to others about their feelings. Just one in six (16%) have spoken to friends or family about their mental health, which is considerably fewer than last year (42%). 

Furthermore, one in six (16%) worry what their colleagues would think if they told them what they were going through, and more than a quarter (28%) feel they can’t take time off work for mental health reasons. 

As part of its campaign to raise awareness of mental health amongst tradespeople, IronmongeryDirect is partnering with Basildon Mind, the mental health charity, and is donating over £3,000 to support with its vital services. 

Emma Mamo, Head of Workspace Wellbeing at Mind, says: “In male-dominated industries such as construction, employees are often less willing and able to open up about their mental health and ask for support. This can be problematic because mental health problems often become worse if left untreated, and the consequences can be fatal.  

“We urge employers to create cultures where employees can speak openly and honestly about their mental health.” 

 Mind’s top tips for dealing with mental health problems: 

  • Understand more about stress
  • Figure out what you find helpful to deal with your mental health, as well as what can trigger it
  • Learn about different coping techniques and if they work for you 
  • Exercise regularly
  • Practise mindfulness and meditation 
  • Open up and talk to your family, friends and colleagues 

 Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect and ElectricalDirect, says: “It’s an unfortunate truth that mental health issues are common across our industry, and it’s awful to see that so many tradespeople experience problems on a regular basis. 

“It’s particularly worrying to see that the number of people talking to others about their mental health has dropped significantly from last year. As difficult as it can be to discuss your feelings, talking about them with someone else, whether that’s a colleague or family member, can really help to begin addressing the issues.”  

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