British Aggregates Association makes a stand against poor mental health of truck drivers
THE British Aggregates Association (BAA) is working with partners at National Highways and Driving for Better Business as it looks to adopt, support, and raise awareness of the CALMDriver initiative.
Every week 125 people in the UK take their own lives – and 75% of all UK suicides are male.
The CALMDriver initiative has been developed with the Campaign Against Living Miserably suicide prevention charity in response to the unfortunate reality that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 – a demographic that aligns closely with that of truck drivers in the UK.
Drivers of all ages are prone to poor mental health and face additional pressures, including unpredictable journey times, traffic congestion, tight deadlines, work pressures, a high workload, lone working, and lack of social interaction, all of which could contribute to a higher risk of mental health issues.
Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) data have substantiated and identified truck drivers as being some 20% more likely to take their lives than other workers.
Roy Bush, BAA director of health and safety, said: ‘CALMDriver is about destigmatizing the issues around mental health in an industry that traditionally hasn’t been very good at admitting it needs help. Through the CALMDriver initiative, the BAA is proud to be supporting the HSE’s ‘Working Minds’ mental health campaign.’
The CALMDriver campaign is designed to start the conversation in the driver community and raise awareness of helpful resources along with CALM’s crisis support. CALMDriver is also a way of helping employers get support information out to their commercial vehicle drivers, so they know there is someone there to talk to every day if they need help.
‘National Highways has been working with CALM for a while to draw attention to the mental health challenges those in the transport industries can face. Drivers carry out essential work in difficult, pressured circumstances, which, when combined with lone working, could put them in the high-risk category,’ commented Mark Cartwright, head of commercial vehicle incident prevention at National Highways. ‘We’re delighted that the British Aggregates Association has recognized this and welcome their support for CALM.’
The BAA’s director of transport, Mark Cowan, said: ‘Drivers and hauliers, especially in our industry, are often neglected when it comes to support from employers, as was the case in the early days of the pandemic and during the lockdowns, and this hasn’t really changed. With the ongoing shortages and uncertainties that the industry is experiencing, drivers will inevitably be put even under even more pressure than before.
‘CALMDriver lets drivers know that there’s support out there for them and is all about starting the conversation and letting drivers know that it is ok not to be ok, and that we can make a stand against poor mental health.
‘Whilst progress has been made in recent years to help people open up about how they feel, there’s still a long way to go in tackling the stigma surrounding mental health issues. The high rate of suicide amongst middle-aged men over the past decade serves as a stark reminder of the need to support initiatives such as this and is the reason why the BAA will continue to be an advocate for the CALMDriver campaign.’