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A text support service to reach HGV drivers struggling with work-related stress has been launched, with the RHA on board as a campaign partner.

Drivers can text ‘BeAMate’ for free confidential health support – a service provided by Mates in Mind, a campaign partner of Working Minds, which was created by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Laura Taylor, HR director at the RHA said: “We are delighted to be supporting HSE’s Working Minds campaign.

“At the RHA we recognise that our employees’ mental health wellbeing is not just a personal concern to them but a vital component of our collective success as an organisation.

“Therefore, supporting mental health is not just a token initiative for us but a commitment to nurturing an environment where all employees feel valued, understood and empowered.”

HGV driver Michelle Upson said she was concerned about the welfare of her fellow workers: “I’d say there is a mental health problem in the industry. Especially for the guys up the road all week and without their families – it is a lot tougher for them.

“Most of the workforce is men and the age demographic is still high. I think they are less likely to talk about their mental health problems so promoting it is a good thing.

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“Mates in Mind say it is okay not to be okay and I think that is a valuable message to promote if anyone has got a problem and whether they need someone to talk to.

“Line managers certainly need to promote positive mental health because if it helps one individual it is a success, isn’t it?”

The HSE said it was vital employers met their legal duty to ensure risks of stress and mental ill health are factored into risk assessments: “Initiatives such as ‘BeAMate’ are helpful for people needing individual help, but we would like to see more focus on preventing work-related stress at an organisational level, to stop it developing into poor mental health,” said Elizabeth Goodwill, head of stress and mental health policy at the HSE.

“Driving a HGV and its cargo naturally comes with pressure. However, that does not mean the simple steps in our ‘5Rs’ - reach out, recognise, respond, reflect, make it routine - can’t be followed.

“Problems arise when there is excessive pressure workers are unable to cope with.”

Text BeAMate to 85258 if you or someone you know needs help or support and trained volunteers can help with issues including anxiety, stress, loneliness or depression and are available 24/7.