Mental Health - Keeping HGV Drivers on the right road
Mental Health, it’s the thing we all love to ignore isn’t it?
It feels strange not having any physical symptoms yet calling into sick to work, you’re thinking “I’m not actually ill, what’s wrong?” then you begin to feel guilty about not being in work or you do what we’ve all done and that’s ignore it, ignore it and ignore it… until one day you can’t ignore it anymore.
At Avail not only do we have a duty of care to drivers, but we must also remember that HGV drivers are the lifeblood of the UK industry, and with a national driver shortage, maintaining a healthy workforce is essential. But are we aren’t doing enough to keep their minds healthy.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), half a million workers were reported as suffering from work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2018*.
A presentation from mental health charity, MIND, at the Talent in Logistics Conference 2017, showed that 30% of self-reported work-related illnesses within the transport and logistics stemmed as a result of stress, depression and/or anxiety – but reports suggest that many more may be suffering due to the fear of reporting a mental illness to an employer.
There’s a stigma surrounding mental health and it needs to be challenged as the cost of human life is just far too great. In 2017 there were approximately 5,821 male suicides (16 per day) in the UK alone and as we know logistics is a heavily male dominated sector and I think this presents a challenge (statistically) when it comes to opening and reporting the issue.
While it may be very difficult to do, talking to someone about how you feel or even just have someone sit there and listen to you for 30 minutes can make a massive difference to your day. We understand that It’s not always easy to describe how you’re feeling. If you can’t think of one word, use lots. What does it feel like inside your head? What does it make you feel like doing? Are you confused?
You don't need to sit your loved ones or support network down for a big conversation about your wellbeing. Many people feel more comfortable when these conversations develop naturally - maybe when you're doing something together. If it feels awkward at first, give it time. Make talking about your feelings something that you do, it makes you no less of a person.
It’s also important to de-stress and relax and there are many ways you can do this whilst on the road, listening to a podcast, some music, talking to other drivers whist parked up or even just admiring the view (I know it’s rare amongst British motorway!). There is always something that can be done to help stimulate the mind but don’t confuse keeping busy with the ultimate solution, seeking help and talking is the first steps to coping.
If you are suffering from issues with your mental health, here are some useful links below:
I’m going to say it again for the people in the back - You are no less of a person because you admit to feeling down.
Please seek help, your family care, people care, we at Avail care.