The Mercedes-Benz Business Barometer – our ongoing study of more than 2,000 British van drivers, owners and operators – highlights the stigma still attached to mental health.
Just over a quarter (28%) of managers surveyed said an employee had spoken to them about their mental health concerns. And over a third (38%) of all workers said a colleague had opened up to them. Chris O’Sullivan, Head of Workplace at the Mental Health Foundation, commented: “There are added pressures that many van drivers face, namely insecure and unpredictable working conditions”.Female managers are more likely to have experienced an employee talking about mental health concerns than male managers (32% vs 26%) – and this is mirrored across all levels of the workforce. Over half (57%) of those who said a colleague or employee had spoken to them about a mental health issue felt ‘glad they could confide in me’; a further 32% felt ‘proud’ they work in an environment where these issues can be discussed; and 30% felt responsible for helping them find treatment.
However, almost a quarter (24%) admitted they felt uninformed, 21% said they felt embarrassed and a further 17% did not feel equipped to know what to do or say. Strikingly, 56% of all respondents think there is still a stigma about discussing mental health in their industry – peaking at 6 out of 10 people aged
25-34, and rising to 63% in the manufacturing sector. When respondents were quizzed on why this stigma still exists, the chief reason was because the industry is ‘male dominated’. O’Sullivan concluded: “It’s very important that male dominated workplaces do more to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health issues and encourage open and honest conversations about mental wellbeing”
For more information about mental health and how you can be supported, visit The Mental Health Foundation website: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health