Mental Health and the Irish Construction Industry

New research from Chadwicks, Ireland’s leading builders’ merchants, reveals that 85% of tradespeople are reluctant to talk about their mental health and 79% say there’s still a stigma around discussing mental health in the construction industry.

This is despite 38% of those polled saying they believe their mental health could be improved and 62% noticing others struggling with how they’re feeling at work.

The research of 100 tradespeople examining their attitudes towards mental health was carried out to launch ‘How’s the Head,’ a new campaign from Chadwicks which aims to raise awareness of the importance of discussing mental health among this audience. The campaign was launched by former footballer and mental health advocate Richie Sadlier.

Pictured is broadcaster and psychotherapist Richie Sadlier, along with Oisin Douglas and Karl Staunton, launching a new campaign from Chadwicks.

As part of the campaign, €1 from every sale of PPE (personal protective equipment), which includes high vis jackets, hard hats, safety boots, and goggles in all Chadwicks branches nationwide for the next four weeks, will be donated to Irish mental health charity, Aware.

Aware does vital work to support people impacted by mental health conditions across the country, and by purchasing an item of PPE over the next month, Chadwicks customers will be helping to raise essential funds for the charity.

Opening up

Feeling stressed or anxious (77%), a low mood (65%) and sleep problems (60%) are the most common symptoms tradespeople feel when struggling with their mental health. When experiencing stress or anxiety, 64% say they tend to keep their feelings to themselves, rather than talk about it with others.

Seeking support

While the Chadwicks research reveals that many tradespeople can often internalise how they’re feeling, most are vocal about wanting to learn more about how to manage their mental health. When it comes to support, 80% agree that they could benefit from more tips on how to manage their mental health, and another 80% would like mental health training, in particular knowing how to spot signs in others.

Recognising the importance of mental health to colleague’s well-being, Chadwicks, in conjunction with VHI, runs an ongoing mental health awareness programme, designed to help colleagues manage their mental health better. At least one colleague at every Chadwicks location will complete the programme as part of the company’s on-going commitment to colleague well-being, and new hires to Chadwicks also go through well-being awareness training as part of their induction process.

Commenting on the research findings, Patrick Atkinson, CEO of Chadwicks said: ‘The research shows that there is more to be done to encourage tradespeople to feel comfortable talking about their mental health and speak to others they work with too. While it’s positive to see that 80% of tradespeople want more tips on how to manage their mental health better, 85% are reluctant to speak about their mental health with others. We hope this campaign will help change that and encourage tradespeople to speak up about how they’re feeling’.

How’s the Head

A qualified psychotherapist, broadcaster, and author, Richie Sadlier is no stranger to speaking about his own mental health publicly. Chadwicks has enlisted Richie to drive awareness of the ‘How’s the Head’ campaign, and as part of that, Richie is one of the guests on the latest episode of award-winning podcast series, Under Construction with Chadwicks.

In the episode, Richie chats with host, broadcaster, Donncha O’Callaghan and fellow guest, actor, comedian, singer and qualified scaffolder, Willie (Willa) White, about the campaign and the importance of speaking up. The episode launches this Thursday and will be available to listen to at A taste of what to expect from the episode is available to watch on Chadwicks YouTube channel.

Speaking about the campaign, Richie Sadlier said: ‘I was delighted to be asked by Chadwicks to support this very important campaign. There is a perception among many that the construction industry is male dominated, and in my work as a psychotherapist, I hear regularly about how when lads get together, they shy away from really talking about how they’re feeling.

‘It’s common for many of us with work colleagues after the weekend for example, to ask ‘How’s the Head’, implying that the question is specifically associated with their social lives. However, through this campaign, and when asking this question in future, I hope more people might use it as an opportunity to check how others are generally feeling. I also would encourage anyone who needs any PPE equipment to purchase it in a Chadwicks branch in the next four weeks and help raise funds for Aware, a charity that does vital work and supports many people in communities when they need it most.’

Stephen Butterly, Head of Fundraising at Aware, concluded: ‘We are very grateful to have been chosen as the charity partner for the Chadwicks ’How’s Your Head’ campaign. Every single euro raised makes a difference, contributing towards the support of another person or delivery of another wellbeing programme. Campaigns like this also contribute hugely to increasing awareness and understanding of mental health, encouraging conversation, and reminding people they are not alone. Thank you so much to all involved.’

For more information on the Chadwicks ‘How’s the Head’ campaign, visit

For more information on Aware and its services, visit