EXCLUSIVE research commissioned by Mercedes-Benz has explored for the first time the issue of mental health within an often overlooked yet vital business community - the nation's van drivers.
The research, conducted amongst 2,000 van owners and operators, highlighted that almost one in five van drivers describes their current mental health as poor or very poor, with three-quarters commenting that work is a contributory factor.
More than half of the van drivers with poor mental health said that increased time pressures (52 per cent) and increased workload (50 per cent) are factors affecting their mental health, with one in three believing that job uncertainty is contributing to their poor mental health and 17 per cent of delivery drivers adding that road congestion is impacting on their state of mind.
Despite this, only one in three van drivers who believes their mental health to be suffering have spoken to their manager about their concerns, with more than one in 10 (12 per cent) who haven't spoken to anyone about their mental health at all.
Steve Bridge, managing director at Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, said: "With a continued surge in online shopping, an increasing reliance on same-day deliveries and spiralling traffic volumes across the UK, the real-world pressures on van drivers are changing.
"Our research findings act as a clear call to van drivers to talk about their mental health concerns and work pressures with their employers and for employers to actively listen to the real concerns of their workforce."
James Harris, a spokesperson for the Mental Health Foundation said of the research: "Compared to the national average, these figures indicate that van drivers are experiencing an increased rate of poor mental health. In part this may be explained by the pressures of the job, and the fact that van drivers can often be isolated.
"This is important because we know that men are less likely to reach out for help, and are four times more likely to end their life by suicide. We need to create a culture in which anyone experiencing problems can ask for help in the knowledge that they will be supported."