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 mates in the trade industries start having these tough conversations we have found different ways to get them talking, like our ‘conversation starting’ workwear.
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.
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*.
LIFELINE – 24 hour counselling and crisis support. Call 13 11 14 or visit https://www.lifeline.org.au/
Mensline Australia – 24 Hour counselling service for men with relationship or family concerns. Call 1300 78 99 78 or visit https://mensline.org.au/
Beyond Blue – 24 Hour counselling service. Call 1300 224 636 or visit https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Suicide Call Back Service – 24 Hour counselling service for anyone effected by suicide. Call 1300 659 467 or visit https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au/
- Kids Helpline – 24 hour counselling service for young people aged up to 25 years old. Call 1800 55 1800 or visit https://kidshelpline.com.au/
Lifeline - a 24 hour service counselling and crisis support. Call 0800 543 354 or visit https://www.lifeline.org.nz/
Depression and Anxiety Helpline – to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions. Call 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 or visit https://www.depression.org.nz/
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand - While they don’t offer counselling or clinical services they are great to help you find support in your area. Call 09 623 4812 or visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/in-crisis/helplines/
- Kidsline -24 hour counselling service for young people aged up to 25 years old. Call 0800 543 754 or visit http://www.kidsline.org.nz
Samaritans – a 24 hour service counselling and crisis support. Call 116 123 or visit https://www.samaritans.org/
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 https://www.mind.org.uk/ if you need support.
SANEline - if you're experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else. Call 0300 304 7000 or visit http://www.sane.org.uk/home
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 https://www.thecalmzone.net/
- 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 https://papyrus-uk.org/
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 https://www.mhanational.org/
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 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - this organization raises awareness, funds scientific research and provides resources to those affected by suicide. Visit https://afsp.org/
*Please note that simPRO and TradeMutt do not endorse these organisations but provide them as resources for self directed support.
TradeMutt is an Australian Workwear brand and social enterprise that aims to make tradies and workers of all kinds look and feel great at work, and in doing so, reduce the rate of male suicide in Australia. Find out more by visiting the website https://trademutt.com/