TradeMutt’s 6 tips to start a conversation about mental health

April 8, 2020

Here at TradeMutt, our whole approach around the mental health space is to take a bit more of a fun and light-hearted approach to talking about it.

As we know, guys particularly don’t really like talking about serious stuff too much, but that’s ok. To help our friends in the trade industries start having these tough conversations we have found different ways to get them talking, like our ‘conversation starting’ workwear.

Trademutt 'conversation starter' workwear. Orange fluorescent shirt and Yellow, Pink Blue patterned shirt.

We seriously believe that we can change the whole culture surrounding this topic. After all, while mental health is a serious topic, we want people to understand that we all have mental health, just like we have physical health.

Every minute of every day we are somewhere on the spectrum of mental health, from the lower end including things like depression and anxiety to the other end including things like fun, happiness and love.

So how do we have the conversation? Here are a few things to remember….

1. You’re not there to fix the problem – so don’t try to

You are not a mental health professional, but you are a person who can show empathy and compassion and take a non-judgemental approach.

Just listening and allowing someone to vent is extremely effective. However it’s important to remember, don’t let someone else’s problem become your problem too or you won’t be any good to anyone.

2. Plan a time and place – don’t just launch into a serious topic

If it is a work colleague that you are worried about, then it’s probably not a great idea to try to have the chat at work. It's just not a comfortable setting. Go for a walk, a coffee, a beer, whatever. Just consider your environment first to ensure it is nice and chill.

3. Keep it casual - don’t be weird about it, play it cool

Just because you are ready to talk, it doesn’t mean the other person is. Keep the conversation relaxed, chat about the latest TV show you’ve been watching, mutual friends, or other light subjects.

You need to create a comfortable and safe environment to allow the other person to open up naturally. Talking about some of your own problems is a great way to help this happen.

4. Be frank – once the conversation opens up and gets a little deeper, it is perfectly acceptable to ask the other person “have you considered suicide”?

Although this can be an extremely difficult question to ask, you are likely to prompt a genuine answer, allowing you to gauge just how bad someone’s situation might be. This also allows you to gently suggest they seek help if you think they need more support.

5. Choose open ended questions - asking things like “how is work going?”

Another good option is to ask “how are things at home?”, “how are you feeling?” This will allow the conversation to roll on and starts some insightful conversation about specific parts of someone’s life.

6. Get back-up – if you’re talking to someone about some really tough stuff, always remember there is back up out there

Ask the person if they think it’s a good idea to get someone else involved who knows what to do – a professional – and arrange a time to connect them to someone who can help.

Please subscribe to Simpro’s newsletter for updates related to the trade industries and the current health crisis, and visit the TradeMutt website to learn more about our operation.

Support resources to help you start a conversation about mental health

Below we have listed some resources that you or your friends can use to get the help they need*.


New Zealand

United Kingdom

  • Samaritans – a 24 hour service counselling and crisis support. Call 116 123 or visit

  • MIND - they provide help and support to anyone who is struggling with mental health. Call their info line on 0300 123 3393 or head to their website if you need support.

  • SANEline - if you're experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else. Call 0300 304 7000 or visit

  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) - if you identify as male and need further support call 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) or visit their website

  • Papyrus - if you're under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm) or visit their website

United States

  • Mental Health America - They provide resources that promote mental health and provide education on early identification and intervention for those at risk. They can also assist in finding support groups and therapists in your state. Visit

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - This national network of local crisis centers provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit

  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - this organization raises awareness, funds scientific research and provides resources to those affected by suicide. Visit

*Please note that Simpro and TradeMutt do not endorse these organisations but provide them as resources for self directed support.