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76% of tradespeople say Covid-19 impacted their mental health

3-minute read

Catriona Smith

26 February 2021

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Three in four tradespeople say Covid-19 has negatively impacted their mental health, according to new research from Simply Business.

We surveyed 200 tradespeople and construction workers across the UK to understand how Covid-19 has affected their mental health and wellbeing.

With many saying they’ve experienced stress, low self-esteem, and sleep problems, it’s clear the year-long pandemic has taken its toll.

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Stark reality of mental health crisis during Covid-19

Three quarters (76 per cent) of tradespeople say Covid-19 has negatively impacted their mental health, with one in five (17 per cent) describing their current mental state as either bad or very bad.

In the last 12 months:

  • 32 per cent have experienced depression
  • 58 per cent say they’ve experienced stress
  • 45 per cent have experienced anxiety

We also asked tradespeople how their sleeping patterns have been affected since the start of the pandemic. We found that 60 per cent are getting less sleep, with 20 per cent getting two to three hours less sleep compared to before Covid-19 hit last year.

Construction industry faced unique challenges

Unlike many industries, construction has had the green light to continue working through large periods of the pandemic – including the most recent national lockdown. Indeed, almost one in five (18 per cent) say they’ve continued business as usual throughout.

But with one in five (17 per cent) describing their current mental state as either bad or very bad, it’s worrying to learn that two in five (38 per cent) tradespeople don’t feel they’re able to take time off work if experiencing poor mental health.

Concerns for the future

We also asked tradespeople about their concerns for the future at a time when we still face much of 2021 under lockdown restrictions. In terms of specific worries, we found out:

  • 49 per cent said the future of their business
  • 47 per cent said their mental health and wellbeing
  • 22 per cent said the potential permanent closure of their business

But there’s still reason for optimism

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, two in five tradespeople (42 per cent) are optimistic that the economy will pick up, while a further two fifths (38 per cent) feel positive that the number of jobs and orders they’re receiving will continue to rise.

We’re even seeing some potential long-term benefits to the trades community with 22 per cent saying they’ve managed to adapt their business during the pandemic and 13 per cent having learnt new skills.

Tools for looking after mental health and wellbeing

Exercise, time with friends and family, time in nature, and mindfulness are all things that tradespeople say improve their mental wellbeing.

Digging into the stats, we found that:

  • 57 per cent said being outside or in nature
  • 53 per cent said exercise, e.g. yoga, running, and walking
  • 57 per cent said connecting with family and friends

Ideas for staying connected with Dr Hazel Harrison

We've partnered with a range of experts as part of our Better for Business campaign. In this video, Clinical Psychologist, Dr Hazel Harrison, shares her tips for keeping connected with friends and family to help boost your wellbeing while navigating the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tradespeople will be vital to our collective recovery

Our UK CEO, Alan Thomas, said: “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.”

He added: “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.

“That’s why we’ve partnered with a range of experts – from sleep specialists, to clinical psychologists – to create tailored resources for the self-employed, housed on our Better for Business wellbeing hub.”

Looking for self-employed health insurance?

With Simply Business you can build a single self employed health insurance policy combining valuable covers and services. Whether you want to be covered for stress support, physiotherapy, or in-patient hospital treatment, we've got the right health cover to suit your needs.

Start your quote

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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