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- By Andy Smith
The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) is working with the Samaritans charity to explore ways of supporting tradesmen in construction who may be struggling with mental illness.
The trade body is also supporting a Samaritans campaign, Real People, Real Stories, which aims to support working-age men suffering from the impacts of the coronavirus lockdown.
The campaign aims to use real-life stories to reach men struggling
to cope and encourage them to seek help.
As part of the campaign, Samaritans has shared new research
of the impact of lockdown measures on the mental health of working-age (18-59)
men, which showed two-in-five (42%) men felt that the covid-19 restrictions had
had a negative impact on their mental health.
Almost half (47%) of respondents had felt feelings of
anxiety (47%), a similar number experienced loneliness and/or isolation (42%),
and just over a third (34%) said lockdown put a strain on their relationships.
However, 40% of respondents said that talking to others
helped with the concerns and worries they had during lockdown, showing the
importance of seeking help and getting support when they needed it.
The research was conducted by YouGov in July 2020 among a
sample of 1,943 men aged 18-59.
Real People, Real Stories runs from 11 August to 27
September and aims to reach men aged 18-59 years and above who are feeling low
and struggling to cope. Men who have found life tough, experienced depression
or suicidal thoughts have written words of support to other men and these will
feature in films, shared across social media, radio, buses and TV.
The campaign will run across social media, using the handle
@samaritanscharity on Instagram or on Twitter @samaritans or Facebook, as well
as using the hashtag #RealPeopleRealStories.
NFRC, head of technical, Bob Richardson said: “We strongly
welcome Samaritans’ Real People, Real Stories campaign. This new research
paints a troubling picture of the affect that lockdown has had on the mental
health of working-age men, such as loneliness, anxiety and financial worries.
Samaritans want to use this campaign to reach anyone who is struggling during
this pandemic, to prevent them from reaching crisis point, and show the
importance of seeking help.”
He added: “Sadly, suicide is still one of the biggest
killers in construction, taking on average two lives a day, with roofing being
one of the occupations with the highest risk – almost three times more than the
average. That is why NFRC are working with the Samaritans to explore different
ways of supporting tradesmen in construction who may be struggling and welcome
He concluded: “This campaign offers a positive alternative,
by showing real life stories of men who have sought help and overcome tough
times. If you know someone who is finding things difficult at the moment, then
encourage them to seek help. Anyone can call the Samaritans for free on 116
123, 24 hours a day 365 days a year or visit Samaritans.org to explore their
self-help tools and information.”
Samaritans executive director of external affairs, Paul
McDonald added: “This pandemic has brought unexpected change and uncertainty,
which will have a lasting impact on everyone’s mental health and wellbeing. At
Samaritans we know that less well off, middle-aged men have remained the
highest risk group for suicide in the UK for decades and that the restrictions
put in place during lockdown such as isolation and disconnection will have
exacerbated problems for these men.”