New mental health resources are being offered to businesses for free, bringing support for van drivers facing increased pressures during the pandemic.
Van drivers of all ages are prone to poor mental health due to unpredictable journey times, traffic congestion, tight deadlines, a high workload and lack of social interaction; the suicide rate for van drivers is 25% higher than the national average.
But these problems have been compounded during Covid-19 due to the greater demand for delivery services in lockdown. In particular, this has exacerbated two key issues – fatigue and stress – that combine to cause poor mental health and impact on wellbeing, according to Driving for Better Business (DfBB).
Mental health of staff is firmly on the corporate agenda at board level across large enterprises and SMEs – almost a third of UK businesses are concerned about staff mental health (32%), according to a DfBB survey.
But only 27% of all businesses have measures to monitor the mental health of operational staff and just over a quarter (26%) have measures to monitor the mental health of furloughed workers. Meanwhile, only a quarter (25%) of businesses are providing employees with mental health resources during Covid-19.
To tackle this, Driving for Better Business (DfBB), a government-backed Highways England campaign, has partnered with CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to create 20,000 driver information packs, containing a flyer and stickers to go inside commercial vehicles.
Announced to coincide with ‘Blue Monday’, these have been designed to increase awareness among drivers of CALM’s free and confidential helpline and webchat for anyone who needs to talk about the issues they are facing.
Simon Turner, campaign manager at Driving for Better Business, commented: “Our CALM Driver resources help employers to take a proactive approach in engaging with drivers and supporting them on mental health issues. Championing driver mental health, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, isn’t just morally the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense, helping to keep operations running smoothly, and drivers safe and healthy.”
To register for the free resources and find out more about the CALM Driver campaign, click here.