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News | August 2023

A positive mental health shift in blue collar industries 

Get involved: Tradies National Health Month with Steel Blue and the APA

Tradies turn to their mates for mental health support: a positive shift in blue collar industries

In a heartening display of progress, blue collar workers are showing increased comfort in seeking mental health support from their friends and family, according to a survey conducted by Steel Blue as part of its ‘Boot the Blues’ for Beyond Blue fundraising campaign. The campaign, which aims to raise awareness about mental health among workers in resource, construction, agriculture, and trade industries, showcased these encouraging signs at an online event attended by industry employers and workers.

Recent findings from the Steel Blue Boot the Blues survey revealed that 3 out of 5 respondents were more at ease seeking help from their close circles compared to the previous year. Approximately 40% of respondents acknowledged having turned to friends or family members for support, and nearly 30% had consulted their General Practitioners (GPs). Overall, nearly 70% of respondents had reached out for some form of support, indicating a growing awareness of the importance of talking to someone when dealing with mental health challenges.

Dr. Grant Blashki, Lead Clinical Adviser at Beyond Blue, highlighted the significance of this trend, stating, “The importance of initiatives like Steel Blue’s collaboration with Beyond Blue is a real game changer. It opens up the conversation and reminds tradies who are experiencing mental health problems that they’re not alone and it’s worth accessing the excellent support out there which can literally change people’s lives and help them get back on track.”

Ross Fitzgerald, Chief Sales Officer and Founding Director of Steel Blue, emphasised the company’s commitment to supporting Beyond Blue‘s cause, “The knock-on effects of poor mental health among tradies can’t be understated in both economic, health, and social terms.” He further expressed encouragement at the survey’s findings that tradies are increasingly turning to their peers during times of need.

Compared to the previous year, the survey indicated positive shifts in respondents’ attitudes and behaviours:

  • 63% felt they knew how to protect their mental health during times of stress
  • 72% engaged in hobbies that helped them relax
  • 55% stated they would reach out for help if experiencing distress
  • 60% reported feeling comfortable discussing their struggles with friends and family
  • 60% expressed a sense of comfort in seeking professional assistance
  • Notably, 84% disagreed with the notion that depression is a sign of weakness

Dr. Blashki praised this departure from the traditional “tough guy” stereotype that had previously deterred individuals from seeking help saying he hoped that the shift could potentially lead to more tradies addressing their mental health alongside physical injuries.

Steel Blue actively supports Beyond Blue through fundraising efforts, having contributed over $400,000 to the organisation. The initiative donates $10 from each sale of its iconic blue safety boots to Beyond Blue. These funds have helped over 6,150 Australians access free mental health support.

The survey also featured direct quotes from respondents, highlighting their personal experiences and attitudes:

  • A lighting technician from Queensland underscored the importance of familiarising people with available support services
  • A retired mechanic from Victoria credited regular sessions with a psychologist for saving their life
  • An agriculture worker from Victoria shared how seeking help stabilised their mental health
  • A transport worker from Western Australia acknowledged the evolving perception of mental health
  • A warehouse worker from Victoria discussed overcoming the stigma associated with seeking help and regaining a positive outlook on life
  • A warehouse worker from Queensland praised their employer’s support and the availability of resources like Beyond Blue
  • An engineer from Queensland highlighted the significance of mutual support in challenging times

Interestingly, half of the respondents acknowledged the interplay between physical and mental health. One quarter revealed taking extended work breaks due to physical injuries, with over half of these respondents indicating a subsequent impact on their mental well-being.

The Steel Blue ‘Boot the Blues’ campaign and survey results underscore the evolving attitudes toward mental health within blue-collar industries. The increasing openness to seeking support from friends, family, and professionals is testament to continued efforts to reduce stigma and promote mental well-being in these crucial sectors of the workforce.

View key findings, tools to help you and tools to help build healthy workplaces on our blog titled Tradies turn to their mates for mental health support. Click through to watch the webinar now.

The Beyond Blue Support Service can be reached on 1300 224 636 or via email and webchat at

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