Majority of UK plumbers experience mental health problems due to work

Posted: Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

A new study has found that 81% of UK plumbers experience mental health problems due to work-related issues.

The research, a survey of 500 UK tradespeople conducted by The Leadership Factor on behalf of IronmongeryDirect, was commissioned for Mental Health Awareness Week (9th to 15th May).

Across all trades, almost two-thirds (64%) experience some form of mental health problem, such as stress, anxiety or depression, every month, and, one in eight (13%) feel symptoms every single day.

HVP reports that finances remain the number one cause of stress, with over a third (34%) saying that money worries play on their mind. In fact, the top five reasons are the same as last year, with customer tensions (24%) taking second spot once again.

Unfortunately, 85% of plumbers (the same figure as for other trades) say they don't feel comfortable talking to others about their mental health, with finances (46%) being their main cause of anxiety. Just one in six of respondents (16%) have spoken to friends or family about their mental health, which is considerably fewer than last year (42%).

Furthermore, one in six (16%) worry what their colleagues would think if they told them what they were going through, and more than a quarter (28%) feel they can’t take time off work for mental health reasons.

Plumbers are the most likely tradespeople to feel stressed or anxious on a daily basis (27%), but overall, mental health problems are most common amongst plasterers. More than nine in ten (92%) say they experience issues at least once a year.

The most significant change from 2021 is the impact of customer abuse, with almost a fifth of respondents (18%) saying they struggle with insults or threats, which is treble the figure from the previous report (6%).

As part of its campaign to raise awareness of mental health amongst tradespeople, IronmongeryDirect is partnering with Basildon Mind, the mental health charity, and is donating over £3,000 to support with its vital services.

Emma Mamo, head of Workspace Wellbeing at Mind, said: “In male-dominated industries such as construction, employees are often less willing and able to open up about their mental health and ask for support. This can be problematic because mental health problems often become worse if left untreated, and the consequences can be fatal.

“We urge employers to create cultures where employees can speak openly and honestly about their mental health.”

Dominick Sandford, managing director at IronmongeryDirect, said: “It’s an unfortunate truth that mental health issues are common across our industry, and it’s awful to see that so many tradespeople experience problems on a regular basis.

“It’s particularly worrying to see that the number of people talking to others about their mental health has dropped significantly from last year. As difficult as it can be to discuss your feelings, talking about them with someone else, whether that’s a colleague or family member, can really help to begin addressing the issues.”

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