Mental health is a serious problem in the tradie community. We partnered with Lifeline to bring the HALT mental health program to Port Macquarie which is designed to end the negative stigma around mental illness in tradespeople.
Mental health and tradies
Mental health is no joking matter. There is nothing to be taken lightly regarding a person’s mental wellbeing and their emotions. Despite these truths, feelings of depression and anxiety are sometimes flippantly brushed off by the sufferer, their co-workers and even their employers. While sufferers can join a mental health program and get treatment for their conditions, there is often a negative stigma surrounding it. This stigma is especially carried in the tradie community. It’s a serious issue that needs addressing.
Tradies are ‘supposed to be tough’
The typical tradie culture carries a strong sense of masculinity and encourages the silent type. Plus, it never pushes tradies to openly talk about issues that may concern any aspect of their physical, financial, and mental health. For example, if a tradie were to speak on these conditions, it would be a highly irregular occurrence that could possibly be met with ridicule. Discussing feelings is not considered to be very ‘masculine’.
While it sounds extreme, suicide is a result of many cases of mental health issues. In fact, nearly 3,000 people died by suicide in Australia in 2014. In other words, there were 7.8 deaths by suicide each day. Suicide continues to devastate the communities in which they occur, even right here in the Port Macquarie/Hastings area. We care deeply about the wellness of our community, so we partnered with Lifeline Mid North Coast to try to make a difference.
The HALT mental health program is all about reducing the stigma and raising awareness in the tradie community. One in five Australians will experience a form of mental illness in a given year. In the tradie community, this is a much more common occurrence. Plus, tradies often deal with the illness without support. HALT aims to bridge the gap between the tradie community and local and national mental health program and support services.
Jeremy Forbes, the founder of HALT, is a tradie himself who could see the lack of awareness in the tradespeople community. He uses his extensive experience in the trades field to communicate effectively with all walks of life. Jeremy wants to put an end to the negative stigma surrounding his tradie community and mental health through a variety of services.
The first stage of the HALT program was rolled out in February. A series of talks were given at TAFE and schools where trade apprenticeships are held. The HALT mental health program encourages open discussions through professionals in their fields who have experienced such illnesses.
Another successful way of engaging tradies is to hold these discussions in comfortable environments. Team members from The Westport Club, Lifeline Mid North Coast and Petries Mitre 10 held a barbecue where the tradies come in for supplies. There were numerous professionals there to engage in casual discussion about the importance of good mental health. Jeremy Forbes, the founder of HALT, was also there to talk with the tradies over a bacon and egg burger. The first event was a large success.
The Westport Club Community
The Westport Club is thrilled to help deliver the HALT mental health program. The service is another step toward creating a safe, healthy, and accepting community for everyone. However, we are involved with much more than just HALT. Check out our Community page to find out more about how The Westport Club gives back to the community and how you can get involved too.