Wednesday October 10th is World Mental Health Day. Organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the aim of the day is to promote mental health education, awareness and advocacy.
At work, professional drivers are recognised as a particularly high-risk group. And that’s one of the reasons why Driver Hire, the leading national transport & logistics recruitment franchisor, is supporting this annual event.
“If you’ve got a bad back or a heavy cold, it’s usually pretty clear to your colleagues and other people you interact with during your working day that you’re not 100%,” says Richard Owen-Hughes, Driver Hire’s Group Marketing Director. “But if you’re feeling ropey because of a mental health issue – for example stress or depression – it’s often not so obvious. And for too many people there’s still a stigma around mental health. We need to encourage people to talk about it more freely with others.”
One in four people will experience a mental health issue during the course of this year. Out of that number only a quarter are having ongoing treatment to help them. In 2017, 15m working days were lost in the UK because of mental health issues.
“There are several reasons why professional drivers are at risk,” Richard continues. “They work in an unpredictable environment – often on their own – where traffic conditions, the weather and tight delivery deadlines can all contribute to stress and fatigue. It can also be hard to get enough exercise, and to eat healthily. To help drivers overcome some of these challenges we’re promoting the ‘5 Steps to Wellbeing’.”
The ‘5 Steps to Wellbeing’ is built around the following principles: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, and Give. It’s a widely recognised set of simple steps that can improve mental wellbeing enormously. Ensuring social interaction with other people, trying to be active – both mentally and physically – being aware of the world around you and helping others all have a beneficial effect.
“Of course, we’re not just keen to educate professional drivers on mental health. It’s a vitally important health issue for everyone,” Richard continues. “We’ve produced a special poster covering the ‘5 Steps to Wellbeing’. We’ve printed 20,000 copies for customers as part of our regular Newslink newsletter, which are being distributed around the UK by our franchisees. Further copies are also available on request.”