Poor mental health is now recognised as a problem across all industries, no one is immune to it. It is recognised that at a minimum one in four people in the UK will suffer from a mental health issue ranging from anxiety to depression. It’s believed the figure is higher as we as communities are only just now talking about our mental problems.

Who it affects

It can affect anyone, anytime, COVID-19 has focused many of us into realising that we are using crutches to get through our days as isolation has exacerbated our worries and given people time during Furlough to think about their problems and fears, whilst those still working have potentially struggled with stress from having to work longer and harder to meet the demands placed upon them – being part of a smaller team, no time to chat to colleagues, no time to get the job done.

The sobering facts…

The transportation industry is not alone in this increase in mental health issues. Reflecting back to the reported figures from 2017…

  • An estimated 13,000 work-related cases of stress, depression, or anxiety which accounts for 25% of ill health in the sector
  • Suicide rate reported at 85% higher than the national average for drivers of work lift trucks, 25% higher for van drivers, and 20% for HGV drivers 
  • The economic cost of ill health was estimated at £354m for 2017/18

So how do you help staff and drivers manage mental health and reduce the risk of becoming stressed leading to depression and long-term mental illness?

5 ways to help staff

In the world of transport, you don’t always see staff on a regular basis, due to the nature of the business, however, there are 5 ways you can support your staff.

  1. Ask useful questions to find out how your staff are feeling such as “How are you today?”
  2. Listen to them. Don’t rush away so that the driver or office staff feel you are not listening to their concern or joy of the day
  3. Keep conversations going, check back in with staff and drivers
  4. Share celebrations “wins” within the business to everyone, with personal messages to all staff. Helping to build the mental resilience and cohesion of your team
  5. Help your staff feel valued by putting in place regular, relevant training to help them to “feel supported” and appreciated

Training helps support your staff mentally and professionally, helping them do their job to the best of their ability at any given time, helping them to grow in providing a professional service to your clients, and because it’s key that your team looks after all other road users in a professional and considerate way too.

Our online training is the quickest, most cost-effective, and relevant way to help drivers and fleet staff to understand and become more professional at their job. Contact us for a demonstration to see just how it can support you and your fleet staff.

Sources| Department of Transport 2017 | Office for National Statistics | HSE

Published| October 2020