Today marks TradeMutt’s fifth birthday. On this day 5 years ago myself and Dan were contacted by Channel 7 news asking us to tell our story on the 6pm news. That moment created a chain of events that in our wildest dreams we would not have imagined. Rather than write a big thankyou to you all I thought I would share an internal email that I wrote for the TradeMutt and TIACS teams last week….
It blew my mind yesterday when I went onto the TIACS website and noticed that we have ticked over 16,000 individuals supported. It really had me reflecting yesterday on where this all started and the reason we do what we do at TIACS.
When Dan and I came up with the original idea, TradeMutt. It was not something that came about through some master plan or strategic thinking. Rather a simple lightbulb moment that happened when we realised that we could use workwear that looked different to possibly start conversations about mental health. At worst it would be deemed as a shit shirt idea to have some fun on site and bring a few laughs and good banter.
Once we finally got our idea to market and had the shirts out and about we knew we wanted and also had to, ensure we were funneling profits we made into creating the social change that was needed. Tradies, improving their mental health. Ironically everything that was in market didn’t appeal to either Dan and I and we felt we could do a better job in creating something that Trades people could relate with. We didn’t want to fear monger, we didn’t want to ram anything down people's throats and we didn’t want to make just another annual activation. We just wanted to create a relatable service that created real change.
Anthony Bourdain took his life on my birthday in 2018. The 8th of June...
He was someone that from the outside, had so much to live for. A prominent mental health charity posted a picture and a message about the tragedy and how mental health did not discriminate. One of our founding Directors Russell O’Hara saw the post and had a scroll through the comments section. In there he noticed a comment that stood out. A young bloke called Cam had commented the following ‘This is where I am headed’ A call for help!
Russell immediately reached out to him and asked if he could help with anything. Cam went on to tell him that he had recently gone through a relationship breakdown, had lost his job and was not in a good way at all. Russell continued to talk with him and went on to ask if he had reached out to anyone for help? Cam said he had messaged the mental health charity directly that had posted about Anthony, saying he needed help. His response. NOTHING…..
With that Russell wanted to make sure there hadn’t been a miscommunication or a mistake so he too reached out to them and simply asked ‘Hey guys, I have a mate that is doing it tough how can I help him?’ His response. NOTHING….
When Russell told Dan and I this story, we both threw our hands up in the air. ‘This is what is fucking wrong with this entire space, everyone is telling everyone there is a mental health crisis but no one is actually taking any action! It's all just AWARENESS!!!’
We reached out to Cam directly and through the help of Bretts Timber and Hardware were able to get him into a few free counseling sessions with a clinician via video call in Victoria.
A seed had been sown….
‘Why don’t we just hire some mental health professionals and allow people to call them for free?” We said to each other. Seems too simple, can it be done?
Then after a couple years of hard work TIACS was born, our first call was taken in 2020. The date? My Birthday, the 8th of June…..
A young man rang us on that day from a scaffold in Brisbane CBD. He was having an anxiety attack, his work had become overbearing and his relationship with his wife was fractured. He was our first official client. He got our number from a bloke wearing a TradeMutt shirt that had passed on the TIACS details. There, it had become the mental health counseling service that you tell your mates about….
To think that now over 16K people have been through the TIACS service is mind boggling. For context we could fill almost one whole side of Suncorp Stadium, running end to end…..
Thank you for being on this journey with us. We are creating real change here at TIACS, we are changing lives, saving lives and creating a better life for thousands of people.
Now let's fill Suncorp Stadium!