At the beginning of April, Ford UK and Time to Change launched the Elephant in the Transit campaign to raise awareness about mental health and to encourage people to speak out about it. According to data, one in four people in the UK experience mental health problems, yet it is not very widely spoken about.
It is also proven that men are less likely to speak out about their mental health problems, and therefore the Elephant in the Transit campaign is geared towards helping men feel more comfortable about discussing these struggles, as well as helping people to spot the symptoms of mental health among others.
Despite this and other high-profile campaigns, the latest research from the Business Barometer, which comes from Mercedes-Benz Vans UK says that 56% of van drivers and owners still say there is a stigma attached to discussing mental health at work. They spoke with more than 2,000 van drivers and owners, and one of the highest reasons given for the stigma was that commercial driving is a ‘male-dominated industry’.
The research was published on Monday as part of 2018’s Mental Health Awareness Week and we at TC Harrison Ford stand by any business that is trying to create more awareness and remove any stigma surrounding mental health. Government figures from the ONS Report 2001-2013 show that men between the ages of 20 and 49 are more likely to die from suicide than cancer, road accidents, or heart disease. Therefore, it is especially important that male-dominated work environments do more when it comes to challenging the stigmas and encouraging people to be open about mental health. Allowing people to feel more comfortable and confident to speak out about mental health issues could save lives, it is that important.
Those who don’t know a lot about mental health, use resources such as Time to Change, the Mental Health Foundation and Mind to discover more. It is so important to be able to spot if a friend, loved one or colleague is struggling with their mental health.
Everybody reacts differently to mental health issues and there are a wide range of symptoms that sufferers may or may not exhibit, some signs may be:
They are apathetic and show a lack of interest in their hobbies, social events, or anything else they are usually interested in
Withdrawing, including quietness, ‘zoning out’ or lack of interaction
Extreme emotional reactions to events, comments or situations, which you may feel seem out of proportion
They exhibit ‘high’ moments, or mania, which may include them fidgeting, speaking quickly and stumbling over their words, poor judgement and impulsive and risky behaviours (excessive spending is a very common symptom of mania)
Increased use of alcohol and / or drugs
Anger, including aggression and violence, self-loathing or passive aggression
Fluctuating moods and emotions
Being overly clingy or needy, which could be linked to abandonment anxiety
Ford and Time to Change put together their top five tips to use as a starting point for people who think those close to them are struggling with their mental health:
Start small by dropping them a text or a call
Find a good time and place
Go for a coffee
Ask them how they are and listen without interrupting or judging
Treat them the same way as you always have, no matter how they are acting of feeling, they are still the same person
If you are worried about a friend, family member or colleague and aren’t sure what to do, head to Time to Change for some advice.