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AIA grant helps Tools Down with tradies' mental health

19 Jul, 11:53am by Matthew Martin

A new mental health awareness platform Tools Down has been launched to raise awareness of mental health and suicide rates among Kiwi tradies with help from an AIA grant.

Tools Down was started by Mike Taylor and Ryan Edwards, thanks to a $50,000 AIA Vitality Business and Community Grant, to shed a light on the topic rarely spoken about in the industry.

Ryan Edwards is managing director at The Adviser Platform and a Tools Down co-founder and has seen many tradies struggling with their mental health, and has worked with some of them to help alleviate financial and work pressures.

“The last decade has seen more than 300 tradies take their own lives," Edwards says.

"Not only is this a devastating number but it has a knock-on effect to roughly 1.5 million Kiwis who are affected by these tragic deaths or serious harm incidents."

“That’s why we’ve made it our mission to halve the number of suicides, serious injuries and harm experienced by tradies each year, by 2025.”

Managing partner at BBT Digital and Tools Down co-founder Mike Taylor recognises this is a lofty goal but is determined to achieve it.

“I’m a big believer in setting big, aggressive goals. By aiming to make a considerable impact, even if you fall slightly short, we’re still closer than if we set a smaller target.

“Our hope is that by educating people about the help and support available out there it can encourage people to take control of their wellbeing.

"With good education comes good prevention, this is where we’re hoping to encourage the conversation,” says Taylor.

Edwards says there are specific struggles a tradie faces that can take an overwhelming toll on mental health.

“You may wake up one morning and find your ute broken into and all your tools stolen or suffer a work injury that takes you off the tools.

"How do you deal with those lost assets and time on top of everything else? It can be the tipping point for some tradies," he says.

“Through Tools Down, people have approached us to discuss their hardships and need for valuable resources to coach them through times of stress. This is exactly what Tools Down is for and we’re glad people are using it.”

Tools Down is an introductory source for those who reach out via the platform, offering partnerships with specialist organisations across the country best placed to support those who seek help.

“Without the support of AIA Vitality, we wouldn’t have been able to get this platform off the ground," Edwards says.

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