A Victorian pest control company is actively supporting an initiative to bring the subject of men’s mental health into everyday conversation.

BugROff Pest Busters in Horsham, VIC, is proud to be a part of a ‘conversation starter’ initiative to raise awareness of men’s mental health issues and male suicide. The idea came about in August 2019 when office manager Rebekah Pfeiffer attended a workshop at Rapid EduCON about mental health led by Ed Ross and Dan Allen. Mr Ross shared his personal account of losing a close friend to suicide in 2016, an event that led him and Mr Allen to launch TradeMutt, a workwear brand with a difference.

TradeMutt offers a range of brightly coloured shirts, designed for those working in trades, that feature the tagline ‘This is a conversation starter’. Mr Ross explained, “Our loud and vibrant shirts act as a catalyst to starting the conversation around mental health in men, a topic that has been hard to approach in the past for blokes, mostly due to the attached stigmas and perceived weakness.”

The TradeMutt shirts openly invite people to ask questions

Inspired by Mr Ross’s moving presentation, Ms Pfeiffer took the idea back to the BugROff Pest Busters office and suggested that owner Steve Olver (main picture, far right) and the team adopt TradeMutt workwear. Now, every Friday, the team sports orange and yellow TradeMutt shirts in the hope of starting conversations with whoever they may come in contact with. The whole team supports the cause, with the techs wearing the brightly coloured shirts out in the field and around the community while the admin staff wear the black versions.

“These tops certainly start conversations as they are so bright and different, people can’t help but ask what they are about,” said Ms Pfeiffer. “Since we started wearing them in September, the number of questions and conversations these shirts have sparked has been great. The aim is to bring the topic of mental health into everyday conversation, making it an easier subject to talk about. It really is something quite simple yet can have a huge impact.

“Here in Horsham and the surrounding towns there are many people who have been personally affected by suicide and have felt the impact as one of those who are left behind.

“These bright shirts are worn with pride and we take the time to talk to people about mental health when the opportunity arises, which for us is at the least every Friday. We would certainly encourage other pest managers to take on the initiative.”

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