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To coincide with this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, new research has highlighted that more must be done to care for the mental wellbeing of those working within the construction sector. 

Findings have been joint-published by Ironmongery Direct and Electrical Direct, in collaboration with mental health charity Mind, in the Mental Health in the Trades: 2023 Report, raising awareness of work-related stress in the trade industries. 

The research found that four in five tradespeople experience some form of mental health issue due to their job, including stress, anxiety and depression. 

Of this figure, more than a quarter (29%) report symptoms every week while almost half (48%) report them every fortnight. Alarmingly, more than two-thirds (68%) of workers experience work-related stress at least once a month. 

Those between 18 and 24 years old are most likely to face mental health issues in the industry, with nearly all who were surveyed (98%) reporting challenges with their mental health every year. Those between 35 and 44 reported suffering with their mental health most often, with one in ten saying they struggled daily. 

What are the leading causes of stress in the construction industry? 

Of the causes cited for mental health issues, the cost of living crisis was the most common, with 39% of workers giving this reason, followed by the rising cost of materials at 36% and general finances at 28%. 

Tensions with customers were the leading cause for 20% of workers while ensuring work was completed to the highest possible standard was the leading cause of stress for 17% of tradespeople.

Which trades report the highest levels of mental health challenges? 

Building surveyors report struggling with their mental health most frequently, with 98% of respondents saying they had symptoms every year. This was followed by carpenters (93%), locksmiths (92%), caretakers (87%) and electricians (83%). 

Speaking up and seeking support

According to the report, just one in six tradespeople have spoken to family or friends about their problems, and more than four in five say they don’t feel comfortable about speaking with others about their mental health. 

There are a number of organisations doing vital work in destigmatising these conversations. 

Mates in Mind raises awareness and promotes mental health services within the workplace, with a particular focus on the construction industry. Working alongside partnering businesses, they help to provide employers with the tools they need to care for the mental health of their teams.

The Lighthouse Charity’s Make It Visible campaign also seeks to make mental health support more accessible and readily available to those who need it. 

Mind has also shared a series of tips and support resources which you can find here.