December 8 2021

OzHelp survey finds tradies most stressed by work pressures

A new survey by OzHelp Foundation (OzHelp) that takes the pulse of the mental health and wellbeing of tradies nationally, has found that work pressures, such as deadlines and long work hours, are the number one causes of stress.

The survey received 314 responses from tradies across Australia, the majority located in the ACT (49%), New South Wales (24.5%), and Queensland (10.5%). 77% of survey respondents were male, 54% were aged between 25-45, and the majority worked in the construction industry (53%).

The top three stressors for tradies were work pressures (62%), followed by family and relationship pressures (44%), and financial pressures (41%). Stress due to mental health and Covid-19 restrictions rated fourth and fifth respectively.

OzHelp CEO Darren Black said that there was a clear link between the top reported causes of stress for tradies.

“When someone is under pressure and working long hours, there are important implications for their health and wellbeing and negative spill-over between work and family life, so it’s not surprising to see work and family pressures and mental health as related causes of stress.”

“Added to this, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened pressures, particularly around work deadlines and financial insecurity.”

OzHelp’s services and programs recognise the connection between health and wellbeing and the social determinants of health, such as financial security, working arrangements, and family relationships, in its approach to suicide prevention.

Significantly, 92% of tradies that responded to the survey said that mental health and wellbeing were important to them, and 40% said they were very likely to seek support for their mental health. However, 16.5% said they would not seek any support, even if they needed it.

When asked about their preferences for receiving support, 54% said informal onsite BBQ catch ups, 43% said onsite mental health and wellbeing training, and 38% said onsite health and wellbeing screening.

“We are seeing some positive progress around mental health and help seeking, particularly when you consider that in male-dominated industries there is usually a lot of stigma.

“It is still really concerning that a significant proportion would not seek any help at all, that’s why we need to focus on outreach and take support to them, in settings where they are open to engaging, including workplaces and in the community.

There were also indications that employers were prioritising health and wellbeing, with 73% of tradies saying mental health and wellbeing was important for their industry or employer. 42% said they had received mental health awareness training and/or a health screen or check-up at work, however, 58% indicated they had not received any form of mental health training at work.

“Again, we are seeing progress. We know there are significantly higher rates of suicide and mental health issues amongst hard-to-reach workers in high-risk industries, like construction, transport and logistics and mining. Employees are seeing their industry, employers, managers, and supervisors prioritising mental health and wellbeing however with 58% not receiving any form of mental health training at work, there is still a huge area of need.”

“There is clearly a lot more to be done and industry leadership is required to continue to drive positive culture change in support of mentally healthy workplaces.”

Download the findings here. 

Download the full report.