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COVID-19: Mental health support for self-employed and SMEs

Mates in Mind

Mates in Mind rolls out free mental health workshops for those most at risk during coronavirus pandemic

MATES in Mind is rolling out free mental health workshops for those most at risk during the current global pandemic, with the support of Tideway – the company building London’s new super sewer. In light of the challenges posed by the current COVID-19 crisis, it is expected that workplace mental health issues, already a pervasive challenge, will be heavily impacted.

For the construction industry, this is particularly critical, as the suicide rate amongst men within the sector is already three times the national average. Many small businesses and sole traders are struggling due to the disruption to work, delays in activity and the knock-on economic stress. 


A donation to Mates in Mind’s COVID-19 Relief Fund from Tideway will help the mental health charity continue to support the most vulnerable workers by addressing gaps in workplace mental health provision for the self-employed and small businesses – some of those who are hit hardest by this unexpected crisis.

The charity aims to reach more than 500 vulnerable individuals, offering research-led training and support, with workshops beginning during Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 (18–24 May). The programme funded by Tideway will also include a 12-month support package for 20 small businesses (with fewer than 10 staff) providing access to a dedicated support officer, business assessments, resources and more.

James Rudoni, managing director of Mates in Mind, said: ‘Taking proactive steps to address mental health issues has never been more important as the whole world battles COVID-19. This funding from Tideway will ensure that more vital support gets to those who are finding it difficult to effectively manage their mental health, helping individuals take control of their mental well-being, better manage their anxiety and avoid spiralling into depression or worse.

‘By providing individuals and SMEs the opportunity to learn, share and talk about their experiences during COVID-19, we can reach out to those who don’t normally have access to workplace support, such as SMEs and the self-employed.

‘We know that without support, these groups are more at risk of higher levels of stress, depression and suicide. However, with a better understanding of mental health issues and how to address them, this funding can change how people manage their own well-being and save lives.’

John Sage, corporate responsibility manager at Tideway, said: ‘Mates in Mind does incredibly important work supporting construction workers’ mental health by ‘starting the conversation’ and their expertise has never been more important than now.

‘The self-employed and those in small construction businesses, who often do not have access to this type of support, are among the most vulnerable to serious mental health problems in this crisis and we are pleased that our donation will help Mates in Mind to reach out to them.’

The Mates in Mind COVID-19 Relief Fund is still open and taking donations, to allow the charity to continue to respond with vital support programmes, including the delivery of mental health advice, guidance, training and enhanced live on-line support. To find out more about these workshops and to take part, visit: [email protected]


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