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Everyone experiences moments that turn your life completely upside down. Like when a loved one suddenly commits suicide. How do you deal with this? Can you keep functioning at work without talking to your colleagues about how you feel? In some industries, talking about feelings is taboo. Yet, it is necessary. Two friends from Australia came up with work clothes that draw attention to mental health at work. I think it’s brilliant, which is why I’m sharing this story with you today.
Sudden sadness and pain
It all started in 2014 when Dan and Ed met on a construction site. The two Australians worked on a project together. Dan had been a carpenter for years, and Ed came from the livestock industry. Despite their differences, the men immediately clicked and became good friends.
In 2016, Dan’s world suddenly came to a standstill when he received news that one of his best friends had committed suicide. It was the first time in his life that he had to deal with suicide, and it hit him deeply. But he also felt driven to make something from this tragedy. So Dan, together with Ed, started TradeMutt, a company with special workwear.
At first glance, these clothes look remarkable. A combination of fluorescent fabric with graphic prints is something you rarely see in workwear. But they did it intentionally. They made the clothing to work in and ensure visibility, but also to draw attention to mental well-being in the workplace. On the back of the shirts is the text ” this is a conversation starter”.
“Our loud and vibrant shirts act as a catalyst to start the conversation between men about mental health. This is a topic that is sometimes difficult for men, mainly because of the stigma that it is a sign of weakness,” Dan said.
Remarkable fluorescent workwear with a message is a success
The shirts were received with great enthusiasm in Australia. Companies are giving their employees a shirt which can be worn once a week to remind colleagues they can talk about their feelings. In the beginning, it was mainly the building, construction, and mining industries, but now rural organizations are also getting involved. For other interested parties, they are available online and shipped worldwide via their webshop.
Recently, an investor has been offering 400 hours of free care for a year. People can get in touch directly with a mental health professional through text, chat, or phone.
Although there are many different shirts and accessories for sale, I have not yet found an item that appeals to me. But that doesn’t matter. It’s about the goal and the idea behind it, and this is the reason that I find this brand exciting.
What do you think of this initiative and the shirts?