The Samaritans are working in partnership with the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) to explore the ways tradesmen in the construction industry can be supported, should they be struggling with mental health.
The NFRC is also supporting a Samaritans campaign, titled ‘Real People, Real Stories’, which aims to support those of working age who are suffering from the impacts of the Coronavirus lockdown. The campaign aims to use real-life stories to reach those who are struggling to cope, and encourage them to get the help they need.
As a part of the campaign, the Samaritans has shared research about the impact lockdown has had on mental health, which shows that two in five men (42%) who are of working age felt that COVID-19 restrictions have had a negative impact.
Almost half (47%) of those who took part had feelings of anxiety, a similar number experienced loneliness and/or isolation 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.
The research was conducted by YouGov in July 2020 among a sample of 1,943 men aged 18-59.
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.
NFRC Head of Technical, Bob Richardson said: “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.”
He added: “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 is 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, added: “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.”
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