Looking at him now, you’d never have known local bloke Phillip Edwards had a long history of battling the black dog.

He seems like a happy go lucky type of bloke, and, considering his profession, not exactly the type of person who’d speak up about his dark thoughts over a Breaka and pie.

Especially given that his industry is notoriously rife with hazing tactics and for having a ‘take a spoonful of concrete and suck it up’ kind of attitude.

Now that he’s finished his apprenticeship and is finally getting paid a half-decent wage, Phillip can afford to see a psychologist – not that he feels any inclination to see one anymore now that he’s been able to secure stable, long term employment and a place to live, both of which are key factors to having good mental health in the first place.

No, in Phillip’s mind, mental healthcare was not a luxury he could afford, even though ironically, the vicious cycle of being unemployed as a direct result of mental illness often means that those who need proper care the most, are the ones who can’t afford it.

Before he’d landed on his feet, Phillip tells The Advocate that he’d heard about the mental health care plan – a program that offers subsidised sessions with a psychologist – but had been too fearful to approach his GP about due to his own internalised stigma about mental health. Opting instead to suffer in silence as most blokes do, Phillip was only able to make it in the clear when his work life improved and not because he was equipped to cope with how he was feeling.

According to research suicide rates amongst Australian tradesmen are twice as high as any other profession.

A Literature Review commissioned by Beyond Blue indicates that construction workers and miners may be more likely to have an elevated prevalence of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse due to factors including stressful working conditions, lack of support from supervisors, and poor workplace culture.

Your local GP can refer you to a Mental Health Care Plan, which offers up to ten free or subsidised sessions with a psychologist per calendar year.

Check out Health Direct or Beyond Blue for more information.


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