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Mental health campaign encourages van drivers to prioritise their wellbeing

OVERWORK and struggling to maintain a suitable work-life balance are putting the UK’s van drivers at risk of burn-out.

Around half are suffering with mental health issues, a significant increase in the past 12 months, says the study by Milton Keynes-based manufacturer Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

Drivers are working beyond their regular hours half of the time, compared to the average UK worker who clocks longer hours a third of the time. The side effects include sleep problems, stress headaches and panic attacks and the longer hours are causing one in five van drivers to feel overwhelmed by work on a daily basis.

A total 94 per cent  say they have felt overwhelmed at least once in the past year. Positively, three-quarters of those who suffered issues had sought professional support to help them cope.

Kate Thompson, head of marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Mental health in the workplace is an incredibly important topic and one we are proud to continue exploring, with the aim of normalising discussions and promoting best practice.”

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is urging the UK workforce to take time out and practise wellbeing, whether in the form of taking up a new hobby, exercising, talking to friends or getting outside. It launched its #DownTools campaign last year to raise awareness of the risks of burnout and, as part of a continued partnership with Mental Health UK, the company – headquartered at Blakelands – is supporting its customers to shut up shop, put down the hammer and close the laptop at the end of the working day.

“Our research over the years has really cast a light on the prevalence of mental health issues within the workplace and particularly with men and small business owners and the difficulties of establishing an effective balance,” said Ms Thompson. “So we hope that by raising awareness, we will encourage people to prioritise their wellbeing and provide the resources to regain a productive work-life balance.”

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