Mental health is a subject that’s been in the news a lot recently. But why? Because it’s becoming more common for people to suffer from mental illnesses and mental health problems, and we need to make a change. According to research done by HSE, half a million people suffer from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, and over 30% of self-reported work-related illnesses within the transport and logistics industry is down to mental health. Our UK economy is resting on the shoulders of the men and women behind the wheel of HGV’s, and we feel it’s our duty to protect them. So today, we want to talk about driver mental health.
Mental health used to be a very taboo subject. You couldn’t talk about issues or if you were struggling, and it was unseemly to admit to having mental health problems. Thankfully, that has changed, and now discussions about mental health are a much more common, positive thing. But without positive mental health conversations and care, the HGV could lose a lot of good people and good drivers. Not to mention the fact that mental health issues cost the UK logistics industry up to £100billion.
In the HGV industry, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to poor mental health. Difficult working hours, night shifts, traffic, tight deadlines, mental fatigue and physical tiredness can all play havoc with your mental health. There is a struggle for a healthy diet and exercise regime, and many drivers struggle to maintain their relationships due to the distance.
There is also a gender divide at play. Statistically, men are much less likely to speak up about mental health problems than women are and instead, prefer to suffer in silence. This is true in most industries, but is especially prevalent in transport. This isolation means that conditions like stress and depression are likely to get worse if they aren’t treated.
Yes, it is. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the single most common issues reported by HGV drivers across the world – not just in the UK. Drivers who spend their lives o the road on their own, away from their families and disconnected from their friends. HGV drivers will often say they don’t feel like they have a personal life when they’re on the road, sometimes only seeing their families for fleeting moments.
And loneliness isn’t just an emotional problem. Over the last few years, researchers have found that strong relationships are the strongest predictor of a long and happy life, while poor relationships have been associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease, strokes, dementia and even catching colds. So loneliness is a serious issue on its own before you get into any of the other mental health issues drivers can suffer from.
So that’s the state of play right now. But what can we, HGV employers and HGV drivers do to improve things for everyone involved?
If you need support, advice, or want to talk about improving mental health support in your workplace, just get in touch with the team today.