TRADIES are known to be tough, macho, capable and strong.
This may all be true; however, they are also over-represented in suicide rates.
Last Wednesday morning, local tradies gathered at Capeview Mitre 10 for breakfast and the chance to discuss mental health with Hope and Assistance for Local Tradies (HALT) founder Jeremy Forbes.
With over 50 tradies in attendance, it was a good sign of local attitudes towards mental health.
Jeremy, from Castlemaine, said he was driven to start the tradies’ focussed mental health group following a mate’s suicide.
“It was at Pete’s funeral, when I was talking to other tradies, and the conversation that kept coming up was, ‘Who’s next?’ And I thought to myself: Is that the best we can do?”
HALT’s impact has spread across five states, with Jeremy talking to farmers, apprentices and tradies.
And from Jeremy’s conversations, the two main issues are finances and relationships.
“We know tradies can earn good money but learning finance from a young age is a big aspect of financial security and mental health that isn’t taught at school or trade school,” said Jeremy.
Understanding that tradies often encounter communication issues in discussing mental health issues; the aim of HALT is to act as a conduit between mental issues arising and needing further help.
“You can actually go to your doctor, you’ve got community health, you’ve got allied health, guys just need to know, it’s okay to call Lifeline,” said Jeremy.
“Anyone can access these services and break through that taboo of mental health.
“In typical chat, the discussion doesn’t move to areas of personal and mental health, which is a shame because it’s something everyone feels.”
Following the Capeview Mitre 10 breakfast, Jeremy also spoke at Cowes where he was equally well received.
TS Constructions’ Gary Foster said, “You could hear a pin drop while Jeremy was speaking, we’re hoping to have him speak at Leongatha in the next few months.”
For support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to www.lifeline.org.au. You can also call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au/forums.