Without HVAC contractors, many of society’s institutions would not function. Homes and businesses would collapse with poor infrastructure. While humans can go days without food and water, they can only go seconds-minutes without air. HVAC contractors make clean air possible, all while getting their hands dirty. It’s not only physically taxing, but also mentally. Here’s how we can band together in support for HVAC contractors and their mental health.
Examining the Risks HVAC Contractors Face
Working in the HVAC industry is very physically demanding and taxing for our contractors, but the mental health aspect is not discussed as much. In fact, HVAC contractors face a myriad of stressors that can impact their mental health. Such factors include:
- Tough working conditions (physical labor)
- Work relationships with coworkers and clients
- Work-life balance
- Family relationships and responsibilities
- Financial debt/issues
On top of that, there is the added factor of extra competition in the industry. Andy Gilliland, training coordinator at Colorado’s Sheet Metal Workers Local 9, told ACHR News:
“Skilled tradespeople can earn higher wages than other jobs, but there is a great deal of competition to keep those positions … Workers are pitted against one another based on factors such as who can travel, who can survive short periods without working, who has child care, and who can afford a vehicle to travel. All of these create stressors that can affect mental health. Working in dangerous, loud, fast-paced, dirty, and unsafe conditions can also affect mental health.”
Recognizing the Signs of Crisis
Mental health is a delicate issue to discuss. It can be an emotionally challenging conversation to have with someone whom you may suspect is undergoing a mental health crisis. This is why it’s important to recognize any potential signs that are indicative of such. Some signs to look out for include:
- A sudden change in behavior. For example, a contractor who is usually easygoing and friendly suddenly becomes irritable or withdrawn.
- Change in appearance or hygiene. Contractors may neglect personal grooming habits such as showering and shaving if they feel overwhelmed or depressed.
- Change in attitude toward work, family or friends.
- Isolation from others around them, including their colleagues and loved ones.
Promoting Mental Health Services
HVAC contractors make up one of the most valuable sectors of society. They are the ones in charge of delivering clean indoor air quality no matter the cost. If you recognize that a fellow HVAC contractor may be struggling internally, let them know that professional help is available.
If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, there are plenty of resources to call upon:
- Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741
- Call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
- Visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.
Supporting HVAC Contractors at Air Ideal
At Air Ideal, we work to foster an environment conducive to positive mental health and well-being in our contractors. With nearly a century in the HVAC industry, Air Ideal has a demonstrable track record of proven success with contractor support and client satisfaction.