- Men’s mental health is a significant issue: 75% of all UK suicides are male
- Van and truck drivers are a key demographic who are likely to have poor mental health: Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45, and the majority of commercial vehicle drivers are male and under the age of 50
- 20,000 CALM Driver information packs produced for businesses to support commercial van and truck drivers and over half have already been taken up
- Yodel, JM Hall Couriers, Murphy Group, Bott and the Road Haulage Association (RHA) have already pledged their support
This International Men’s Day, England International rugby starJoe Marler is challenging the stigma around mental health among those who drive for work.
As part of the CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) Driver campaign, Joe Marler has created a special video aimed at van and truck drivers to support them during these challenging times.
Every week 125 people in the UK take their own life and 75% of all UK suicides are male. In particular, men under 45 – the majority of van and truck drivers – are the most at-risk of suicide. Nonetheless, van and truck 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 which could exacerbate their mental health problems.
Driving for Better Business has produced 20,000 driver information packs for employers to place in their vehicles. The packs contain a flyer and stickers to go inside commercial vehicles, making drivers aware of CALM’s free and confidential helpline and webchat for anyone who needs to talk about the issues they are facing.
To help promote the packs to employers, Driving for Better Business commissioned award-winning comedian and mental health advocate John Ryan to write and produce a short video “Man v Van” using humour to impress on drivers that checking their own mental health daily is just as important as checking their vehicle.
The CALM Driver campaign has already secured the support of both large and small fleets and courier companies. Out of the initial production run of 20,000 packs, over half have already been ordered by businesses whose staff drive for work, such as Auto Electrical Services – a small fleet in Newport – and Yodel which has ordered 5,500 vehicle packs for their drivers.
Other supporters of the campaign include the Murphy Group, Bott, and JM Hall Couriers – one of Amazon’s largest delivery service providers. CALM Driver also has the backing of the Road Haulage Association – the UK’s only trade organisation dedicated to road freight transport – which is promoting the initiative to its members.
The CALM Driver campaign is a collaboration between Driving for Better Business – the government-backed Highways England programme that promotes better management of those who drive for work and the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
More information about the CALM Driver campaign and resources are available at: www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com/CALMdriver.
Commenting on the campaign, Simon Turner, Campaign Manager, Driving for Better Business said: “With a surge in online retail, there have been increased pressures on drivers to fulfil these extra orders, making their journeys longer and even more alone. These working conditions can increase the likelihood of mental health struggles and suicide. Supporting drivers’ 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.”
Mark Cartwright, Head of Commercial Vehicle Incident Prevention, Highways England said: “Drivers who get behind the wheel when they are exhausted, unwell or distracted by personal issues are less effective and more likely to be involved in an incident; the importance of mental health cannot be underestimated. We urge anyone in this situation – and business leaders - to seek out the support available and we’re grateful to Driving for Better Business and CALM for highlighting this important issue.”
Andrew Brown, Business Development Director, CALM said: “We are proud to be working with Highways England and Driving for Better Business on the CALM Driver campaign to help people who drive for work, where sadly the impact of suicide is particularly acute.”
“CALM can help van and truck drivers in several ways. Firstly, we provide frontline crisis support for those in need with our helpline and webchat service, operated by fully trained staff, open from 5 pm to midnight every day. CALM also continually campaigns for societal change, aiming to create a more open culture in which men don’t feel constrained by the societal stereotypes of bottling up their emotions and feeling uncomfortable seeking help.”
“With the CALM Driver campaign, we hope to get van and truck drivers involved in open and honest conversations about mental health with both their employers and their fellow employees.”Click here for more information on the free vehicle packs