Sector - Health
COVID has Negative Impact on Mental Health
Seventy-six per cent of tradespeople have said that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, according to new research from Simply Business.
The almost year-long pandemic has taken its toll on the mental heath of the nation, and it is clear that tradespeople in the UK have been among the hardest hit.
In the last 12 months, one third (32%) of tradespeople have suffered with depression, whilst more than half (58%) have said they feel stressed, while more than two in five (45%) have experienced anxiety.
Forty-seven per cent of all tradespeople said that they had problems with sleep, with a quarter saying they have suffered with low self-esteem at points in the last year. The vast majority say that any signs of poor mental health have either been caused or made worse by the pandemic.
Unlike many industries, the construction sector has had the green light to continue working through large periods of the pandemic – including the most recent national lockdown, with one in five (18%) saying they have continued business as usual. But with one in five (17%) describing their current mental state as either bad or very bad, it’s worrying to learn that two in five (38%) tradespeople don’t feel they’re able to take time off work if experiencing poor mental health.
However, even though there are ongoing challenges, there are encouraging signs of optimism within the construction trade. Looking forward into the remainder of 2021, 42% are optimistic that the economy will pick up and two fifths feel positive that the number of jobs and orders they are receiving will continue to rise.
Meanwhile, one in five (22%) say they’ve managed to adapt their business in the pandemic, with well over a tenth (13%) learning new skills – both of which should have positive long-term benefits for the trades community.
With three in four reporting that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health, it’s reassuring to know that many are taking steps to improve their wellbeing.
Over half say that spending time outside and in nature (57%) and physical exercise (53%) are having a positive impact – while a further 57% are staying connected with friends and family to support their mental health.
One in five (22%) have said that gardening helps, 16% are reading, and well over a tenth (14%) are using mindfulness techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises.
Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, commented: “COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the nation’s wellbeing, and that’s especially true for self-employed tradespeople – many of whom have been instructed to continue working throughout the pandemic.
“The self-employed have been among the hardest hit from COVID-19 and those in the construction industry have faced unique challenges. The results from our latest survey show the clear impact this is having on mental health.
“Tradespeople play a huge part in the smooth running of the UK and will be vital to our collective recovery – the news that three in four have seen their mental health negatively impacted should concern us all for a number of reasons.
“It’s pleasing to see that many are optimistic for a more positive future, and while we’re also encouraged to see tradespeople taking the time to look after their wellbeing, we believe it’s important that they have access to expert support and resources for free.”
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