08 Aug 2022
THE importance of looking after the mental health of local tradies was the focus of several mental health and wellbeing presentations held at the SuniTAFE Mildura campus and Swan Hill campus’ in June.
Hope Assistance Local Tradies (HALT) co-founder and spokesperson Jeremy Forbes presented to approximately 250 apprentices, students, teachers and employers.
“The main aim was to raise awareness around mental health and suicide prevention and how to have an honest, open and tough conversation with your mates,” Mr Forbes said.
“It’s also about realising there are others struggling and you are not alone and there are support services out there, including support services at SuniTAFE.”
HALT’s vision is that every tradie in Australia knows how to look after their mental health and wellbeing. HALT aims to remind tradies they are valued by their community and direct them to support services should they need them currently and in the future.
“SuniTAFE students and apprentices are the quietest apprentices in Victoria, they were really listening and engaged and I know this because I have spoken to tens of thousands of students,” Mr Forbes said.
Mr Forbes said he passed on knowledge and information he wished he had been told 25 years prior. “I have been this passionate for nine, nearly 10 years because I don’t want anyone else to get to the point that I did,” Mr Forbes said.
“I wish someone had spoken to me 25 years ago and said OK, this is what is going to happen and these are the support services that are there.
“It’s OK to cry, it’s OK to grieve over a loved one or an animal and to have issues with drugs, alcohol or gambling, or with sleep or bullying and there is no shame seeking help.
“I want to get the idea in the heads of the young apprentices that they are our future and if they can get a good, positive mental health environment happening around them that it can only be a good thing.”
HALT is a national grass-roots suicide prevention charity. HALT events provide tradies and apprentices with the tools to start having conversations about mental health, and encourage tradies to support their mates when they’re going through tough times.
Learn more about HALT's events, projects and more at www.halt.org.au