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Van Excellence launches calm solution for poor driver mental health
Suicide is now the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. Many who take their own lives struggle with mental health issues and suffer in silence for fear of isolation, ridicule or lack of support from those around them.
Van Excellence, an industry-led scheme promoting the safe and proper operation of vans, is launching a campaign to mark Mental Health Week in partnership with charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to address the stigma around mental health and raise awareness of the resources available for men - many working as drivers, who could be uncertain of where to obtain help and advice.
With one in five van drivers describing their current mental health as poor or very poor, the scheme, which was launched at Fleet Live!, will see vehicle hire and leasing companies offering support packs and information to all customers. Crafted by Van Excellence in association with the charity's key advisers, the packs promote CALM's support services and will be made available to all those leasing through organisations including Arval, Activa, Reflex Vans, Arnold Clark and Venson Automotive Solutions, which are the first companies to have signed up to the scheme.
Mark Cartwright, head of vans and light commercial vehicles at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), which administers the scheme, explains why he launched the campaign: "When I heard suicide is now the biggest killer of men under 45, I was moved to take action. Van drivers often operate in highly pressured and lonely environments, and the combination of tight deadlines and isolation can lead to stress, exhaustion and poor nutrition.
"Van Excellence is committed to improving the wellbeing of all its drivers. We've been overwhelmed by the positive reaction from the industry; we're so grateful to our first partners - Arval, Activa, Reflex Vans, Venson Automotive Solutions and Arnold Clark - for joining us on this journey and we look forward to welcoming more partners on board.
"Too often, individuals suffer in silence and we hope this campaign will help overcome the stigma associated with this illness and provide much-needed support."
Simon Gunning, CEO of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), comments: "The work Van Excellence is doing to support their drivers is outstanding and we're delighted to be partnering with the team. We believe the packs distributed to drivers will start plenty of conversations - some of which might just be lifesaving - so we're proud to be getting the CALM message out across this community."
As part of the campaign launch, Van Excellence, CALM and its partners Bott and Mercedes-Benz branded a Mercedes-Benz van with awareness messaging at Fleet Live! and encouraged visitors to the Van Excellence stand to sign up to expand the reach of the programme. The van was kindly provided by Van Excellence Platinum partner Mercedes-Benz Vans and Gold partner Bott.
11th October 2018