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Toolstation billboard invites construction workers to text about their mental health

In the UK, the suicide rate among construction workers is three times higher than the national average. Unfortunately, those in the industry β€” still overwhelmingly male β€” aren't always comfortable talking about their mental health issues.

To invite them to break that stigma and open up, building supplies retailer Toolstation took out a billboard opposite Liverpool's Lime Street Station. After scanning a QR code on the outdoor ad, people can text with an expert within five minutes. The experts are provided by Lighthouse Club, a charity that provides emotional, physical and financial well-being support to construction workers.

Toolstation, one of the UK's fastest-growing suppliers to the building trade, isn't limiting its message to a billboard. Receipts from Toolstation branches in the surrounding Liverpool area will include a free 24/7 number for the Construction Industry Helpline, managed and funded by Lighthouse Club. The retailer is also sponsoring a podcast dubbed Mental Health Under Construction.

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Last year, researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University warned that initiatives aimed at helping construction workers weren't making a dent in the industry's mental health crisis.

With over 500 stores across the UK, Toolstation is a familiar presence in the lives of builders, plumbers, electricians, painters and decorators. With that access, the brand is a genuine fit for conveying the message that it's ok to reach out for support.

As Greg Richardson, Head of Marketing at Toolstation, explains: β€œWork in the sector is often characterized by limited term contracts and long unsociable hours, away from family. Those who work for smaller organisations or are sole traders in the construction industry might not have easy access to mental health support, so this campaign is an important step in raising awareness that everyone in the industry can quickly talk with someone who can help.”