Trade Mutt - Taking Hi Vis and Mental Health Awareness to a New Level

I have never really considered myself a social media stalker, but of late I have been curiously watching the progress of this incredible start up that aligns beautifully with my vision for Tradie WAGS.  My vision for Tradie WAGS is to empower the women who are working behind the scenes in family business so that the business and families can thrive.  I am all too familiar with the mental challenges that come with business and work pressures.  My hope is that my assistance can in some way make a difference by reducing some of the pressures.

Dan Allen and Ed Ross modelling their awesome shirts.

Dan Allen and Ed Ross modelling their awesome shirts.

In order to even start to deal with the pressures we need to talk about them.  We need to start the conversation, and this is not something that comes naturally to blokes – particularly tradies.  Recognising this, two Queensland tradies Ed Ross and Dan Allen became determined to do something about.   In 2016, touched by a mate who unexpectedly took his own life, they worked together to start up the social enterprise Trade Mutt.  The concept is both simple and awesome.  Tradies wear Hi-vis so why not make these Hi-Vis shirts a little funky all in the name of starting the conversation. 

You need to go to their website to check out these shirts for yourselves.  They are available for both men and women tradies and they are certainly loud.   Just looking at them makes me smile.  The back of the shirt contains the logo “This is a conversation starter” and from my understanding, it really does work.  Ed and Dan are passionate about helping Tradies with their mental health and their website contains blog posts about the topic.  They have also started a Podcast called 120 Grit which talks to Tradies about their lives and challenges.  I have enjoyed listening to it over the past few weeks.  It is so down to earth, and very easy to listen to on my long drives to Goulburn.  I recommend you take a listen or watch it on their You Tube channel.  The links can be found on their website www.trademutt.com.

Clearly these guys have been incredibly busy since establishing their business in 2018.  I was fortunate enough to have a chat with Ed last week about their brand, the message and how WAGS can be involved in helping promote mental health awareness.

From my discussions with Ed, he agrees that upskilling the women so that they can participate more in the business is a great way to share some of the pressures.  He believes it is also very important that the WAGS look after themselves.  Their own mental health is equally important. These businesses are a team effort and the pressures certainly have an impact on relationships.  Often women have the emotional intelligence to understand that something is wrong, but they can sometimes come across as nagging or pushing, and this can create resistance to seek some help.

Of course each case is different, but it would be helpful if the WAGS can understand what mental health is and find ways to mould the conversation so that outside assistance can be sought.  Tradies don’t like to be pushed, and often they are just looking for someone to listen to the problems, not solve them.  They are looking for care and support.  If they are brave enough to discuss their feelings with you it is important that you listen. 

In Trade Mutt’s words “You’re not there to fix the problem – so don’t try.  You are not a mental health professional, but you are a person who can show empathy and compassion and take a non-judgemental approach.  Just listening and allowing someone to vent is extremely effective.”

The thing I love about Trade Mutt is that it is making is so much easier for Tradies to open up about their feelings.  They are taking the stigma out of mental health with the good humour and personality that is uniquely Australian.  Please take a look at their website, follow them on social media and support these guys in getting their message out to the world.  Go buy a shirt and start a conversation! Maybe it is the ice breaker you have been searching for.

Joanne McCauley