No, really – how are you? It may sound flippant, but last week’s news was very sobering. The suicide rate for van drivers, it seems, is 25% above the national average. Not only that, but only a quarter of businesses who employ van drivers have any kind of measures in place to monitor employee mental health and check that their van driving employees are doing okay.
It seems that cases of stress and depression are on the increase with van drivers, in part down to the extra pressure being placed on delivery drivers who are seeing more and more work as a result of Coronavirus, but without being able to magically muster any more hours in the day. Another contributing factor is van drivers in other roles, who have seen their salaries cut as a result of furlough, the lack of social interaction and the complete unpredictability of journey times in this new lockdown era.
While many van drivers are men, the ability to talk about mental health remains a challenge, being seen as un-masculine or weak. The reality, however, is that anyone who is struggling with the world we are currently living in as a result of Covid, really should be reaching out to someone – a friend or a professional, to find a way to cope with those feelings. Exercise can be a good activity to focus on – even a brisk walk can help to get the endorphins flowing and help us feel better.
To help with this, CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably – has produced 20,000 driver packs for van drivers who are struggling with their mental health during lockdown. The packs list sources of support, and hints and tips for self-care to help alleviate any feelings of stress or depression.
It’s too easy to brush it off and tell yourself that everyone is feeling the effects of lockdown and you just need to get through it, but we can all take a few simple steps to help ourselves feel better.
Get your free driver pack here. In the meantime, give yourself a break. Don’t be hard on yourself, and if you need help, reach out and get it. Nobody has to suffer depression alone.