EVERY time Jeremy Forbes hosts one of his HALT events within a community, he has at least one tradesperson talk to him about their own suicide attempt.
HALT, which stands for Hope, Assistance, Local Tradies, was founded in 2013 and aims to get tradies talking about mental health and suicide, and also provide them with information about where to get help.
Mr Forbes said the important thing was having the conversation around these issues.
“We need to have more conversations, I know it is difficult,” he said.
“But the pain of regret is far greater than the pain of hard work.
“I know it can be hard work getting a mate to open up and talk but if you don’t, the pain of regret can be far worse.”
Mr Forbes, who co-founded HALT, is hoping to hold one of the group’s Save Your Bacon Breakfast events in Ballarat in the near future.
Those breakfasts are held at a local hardware story and provide every tradesperson present with information on mental health and where to get help if it is needed.
“Sometimes tradies don’t know what services are there, it is part of that culture,” he said. “It is the ‘she’ll be right mate’ attitude and you don’’t put yourself in position to talk about it.”
“I think the issues of anxiety, depression and the thought of suicide is prevalent across all of the society.
“I think tradies, because of the tough culture, are more disinclined to talk about it.
“We have to break through that stigma. It is a bit of a taboo word, suicide, people skirt around it.”
Mr Forbes said one of the hardest parts was making sure people knew where to get help if needed.
“So for us I didn’t know where to go, or to direct a mate to,” he said.
“We need more education about how it can manifest, the important part of that is getting the guys to listen more and not solve all the problems, but at least to initiate the conversation.”
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