AN ENCOUNTER with a fellow tradesman who was going through tough times with depression got Bruno Efoti thinking there should be some support aimed at tradies.
The result was the formation of Tradies In Sight - a support group aimed specifically at tradesmen.
During his 15 years as a carpenter, Bruno has seen a number of colleagues battle depression, but it was a very personal experience that got him thinking.
“I was talking to a tiler who was looking for a job and had just lost a decent amount of money,” Bruno said.
“His marriage had broken up, his sister had just passed away and he had no one to talk to.
“I got the feeling he was desperate and after I asked him a few questions, this big guy broke down in tears.
“I knew it was serious and then he started sharing all his problems with me.
“It got me to thinking of how many tradies were out there who might be going through the same issues with no one to talk to.
“It really occurred to me that I needed to do something to help these people.
“I know the pressures involved in running a business and the struggles of relationships and families.
“I thought it was time we created some support to help these guys.
“There is a real focus on safety in the workplace, but not enough on mental healthiness.
“We really needed to have somewhere these guys felt was a safe space where they could get the support they needed and share their struggles.”
Bruno looked further into the psychology behind these issues and decided to study a diploma of counselling - all while running his own business.
Learning about the rates of mental health problems in the construction industry reinforced his desire to create support for his fellow tradies.
While still in its infancy, Tradies In Sight has held several functions to raise awareness around mental health.
“I have six other members who have come on board to help and we have just developed our logo and got money behind us,” he said.
“We held a breakfast at Hay’s Hardware in Parkes where we got about 50 guys to attend and talk about some issues, We gave them information about what we are trying to achieve.
“We want to create a network of support between tradies in the area where they all know help is out there.
“We are currently writing a program for individuals to maintain their mental health.
“I want that support out there and that these tradies know they are not alone.”