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3 Steps You Can Take to Support Drivers’ Mental Ill-Health

Blogs | 11th May 2021

In the male-dominated logistics and transport industry, talking about mental ill-health is often considered off-limits. However, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place from 10th-16th May, we are urging employers to tackle this important issue with LGV drivers.

LGV Drivers and mental ill-health

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many professional LGV Drivers were put under great stress to meet increased demand, while dealing with the same worries as the rest of the nation. An LGV Driver experiences limited human interaction throughout long shifts, making it easy for concerns to play on a driver’s mind, and escalate to feel like major problems. Yet many feel like they can’t speak up or seek help.

Left untreated, stress and other mental ill-health conditions, including depression, are likely to worsen, resulting in sickness and absence. Work-related stress is estimated to cost Britain 10.4 million working days per year*.

At the RTITB Instructor Academy, we know how critical this is, so we now have trained mental ill-health first-aiders with a deep understanding of mental ill-health and the factors that can affect wellbeing. But how can you start to address these issues as an employer? And where does training come into it?

LGV Assessors can offer support

As an employer, you may never have considered having LGV Assessors in your business. Or you might have them in your team but be unsure how they fit into the picture when it comes to mental ill-health.

We believe that alongside all the other benefits they can bring to your business, properly trained in-house LGV Driver Assessors can do three important things to help you tackle mental ill-health issues for drivers.

1. Conduct in-house LGV Driver Assessments

An employee qualified to conduct LGV Driver Assessments can help monitor and address mental ill-health issues among the workforce. An in-house LGV Assessor who is familiar with your team of drivers can help ensure that any driver mental ill-health concerns highlighted or noticed during assessments are addressed or elevated to relevant colleagues. Then suitable support can be provided.

2. Open the lines of communication

Communication is important for good mental ill-health. Regular one-on-one LGV Driver Assessments between an LGV Driver and an LGV Assessor provide a valuable opportunity for LGV Drivers to connect with a trusted colleague, in a safe environment, for open discussion and conversation.

These assessments don’t just support the safety and efficiency of a transport operation, they give drivers a chance to share any concerns with a trained and qualified LGV Assessor – including physical and mental ill-health concerns. Well-trained LGV Assessors possess outstanding communication skills, which are vital in supporting your drivers.

3. Deal with your specific concerns

To become an LGV Assessor, there are some core elements to the training, importantly including guidance on communicating with drivers. However, the LGV Assessor course at the RTITB Instructor Academy can also be tailored with modules to include areas that will best support the needs of your specific business when it comes to mental ill-health, such as mentoring skills, stress in the workplace, or an introduction to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

We will also soon be updating our standard LGV Assessor course to include mental ill-health related topics, to better support LGV Assessors in recognising mental ill-health issues and triggers among drivers – watch this space for updates!

Mental ill-health in the road transport and logistics sector

Statistics from mental health charity, MIND, previously showed that 30% of self-reported work-related illnesses within our industry were a result of stress, depression and/or anxiety. However, reports suggest the real figure is much higher as employees (particularly male workers) are reluctant to admit to mental ill-health concerns – less than a third of LGV drivers feel that their employer cares about their mental wellbeing (Talent in Logistics).

Show that you care by training LGV Assessors to support driver wellbeing with the RTITB Instructor Academy. You can choose a Covid-secure course at our facility in the West Midlands, on your own site, or can opt for course with remote theory training. This is ideal for reducing travel time and infection risk, as only the practical element needs to be completed in person.

Whatever you choose, you’ll get access to the same training quality that results in LGV Assessors that bring genuine value to your organisation when it comes to helping and supporting your LGV Drivers, keeping them safe and well.

Contact the RTITB Instructor Academy to learn more about how we can support you and your team’s mental ill-health or book a course now.