A study commissioned by Mercedes-Benz is shedding light on the health woes of professional drivers. Specifically, it sheds light on the mental health of delivery van drivers and other van operators who keep day-to-day business moving.
The exclusive study was meant to shed light on yet another sector of potentially forgotten, yet vitally important, mental health sufferers, and was released to help mark this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
Mercedes-Benz Vans UK researched 2,000 van owners and operators, and found that almost one in five reported their state of mental health as poor or very poor, with 75% declaring work a contributing factor.
More than half of those reporting poor mental health said their condition was brought about by increased time pressures (52%) and increased workload (50%); 33% stated job uncertainty is a contributing factor to their deteriorating mental health, while 17% reported road congestion was impacting their states of mind.
“With a continued surge in online shopping, an increasing reliance on same-day deliveries and spiralling traffic volumes across the UK, the real-world pressures on van drivers are changing,” said Steve Bridge, Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Vans UK. “Our research findings act as a clear call to van drivers to talk about their mental health concerns and work pressures with their employers and for employers to actively listen to the real concerns of their workforce not only during Mental Health Awareness Week but beyond.”
Perhaps equally disconcerting is that only one in three van drivers who reported poor mental health have spoken with their managers about it, while 12% haven’t spoken about their mental health concerns with anybody.
“Compared to the national average, these figures indicate that van drivers are experiencing an increased rate of poor mental health. In part this may be explained by the pressures of the job, and the fact that van drivers can often be isolated,” concluded James Harris, a spokesperson for the UK’s Mental Health Foundation. “This is important because we know that men are less likely to reach out for help, and are four times more likely to end their life by suicide. We need to create a culture in which anyone experiencing problems can ask for help in the knowledge that they will be supported.”