A new mental health awareness platform has launched to raise awareness of mental ill health and the suicide rate among Kiwi tradies.
Tools Down was started by Mike Taylor and Ryan Edwards, thanks to an $50,000 AIA Vitality Business and Community Grant, to shed a light on the little talked about topic in the industry.
Ryan Edwards, Managing Director at The Adviser Platform and Tools Down co-founder, has seen many tradies struggling with mental ill health, and has worked with many to help alleviate financial and work pressures.
“The last decade has seen more than 300 tradies take their own life. Not only is this a devastating number, but it has a knock-on effect to roughly 1.5m Kiwis who are affected by these tragic deaths or serious harm incidents,” says Ryan.
“That’s why we’ve made it our mission to halve the number of suicides and serious injuries and harm experienced by tradies each year, by 2025.”
Mike Taylor, Managing Partner at BBT Digital and Tools Down co-founder, recognises this is a hefty goal but is determined to achieve it.
“I’m a big believer in setting big, aggressive goals. By aiming to make a considerable impact, even if you fall slightly short, we’re still closer than if we set a smaller target.
“Our hope is that by educating people about the help and support available out there, it can encourage people to take control of their wellbeing. With good education comes good prevention, this is where we’re hoping to encourage the conversation,” notes Mike.
Ryan says that there are specific struggles a tradie faces which can take an overwhelming toll on mental health.
“We know this situation is not unique to the trade sector. People all across the country struggle with mental ill health every day. However, many tradies don’t go into the profession to run their own businesses and can find it difficult to handle and talk about the challenges they face.
“You may wake up one morning and find your Ute broken into and all your tools stolen or suffer a work injury that takes you off the tools. How do you deal with those lost assets and time on top of everything else? It can be the tipping point for some tradies.
“Through Tools Down, people have approached us to discuss their hardships and need for valuable resources to coach them through times of stress. This is exactly what Tools Down is for and we’re glad people are using it.”
Tools Down was launched with an online social media and radio campaign, achieving more than 180,000 impressions online. It is an introductory source for those who reach out via the platform, offering partnerships with specialist organisations across the country best placed to support those who seek help.
Ryan and Mike founded Tools Down with support from AIA Vitality’s $50,000 Business and Community Grant programme.
“Without the support of AIA Vitality, we wouldn’t have been able to get this platform off the ground. Like us, AIA Vitality is committed to helping Kiwis live healthier, longer, better, lives with wellbeing at the heart of what they do, so it was a wonderful partnership for us full of shared values,” says Ryan.
“We are eager to extend our support to the community to provide the best available advice to those who’d like it and are actively seeking similar partners to join us on this journey.
“If you are struggling, reaching out is totally okay, and there are good Kiwi organisations ready and willing to offer help.”
For advice, support, or to offer your services to the tradie community, you can touch base with the Tools Down team at: www.toolsdown.co.nz