The Silent Struggle Mental Health Challenges Among HGV and Haulage Drivers in the UK

The Silent Struggle – HGV Drivers in the UK


The world of HGV and haulage drivers is often seen as a symbol of freedom on the open road. However, behind the wheel, a hidden battle may exist—one of stress and mental health issues. In this blog, we’ll explore the factors contributing to mental health challenges in this industry.

What are the Statistics suggesting?

According to a study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the suicide rate among road transport drivers, including HGV and haulage drivers, is significantly higher than the national average. In the year ending March 2020, the rate was 31.4 deaths per 100,000 individuals.

What’s the HSE view?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) acknowledges the unique challenges faced by HGV and haulage drivers. Long working hours, irregular schedules, isolation, time pressures, and the demands of the job contribute to heightened stress levels and mental health concerns. The HSE Working Minds campaign will now target HGV drivers – and their bosses – to promote good mental health whilst at work. Take a read of this link for more information on Working Minds: Stress campaign to help HGV drivers | HSE Media Centre

Key Factors: Why HGV Drivers Suffer More:

  1. Isolation: Long hours spent alone on the road can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  2. Irregular Hours: Erratic work schedules disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to fatigue and stress.
  3. Time Pressure: Strict delivery deadlines and traffic pressures add to the mental strain.
  4. Physical Health Impact: Sedentary work, irregular eating habits, and limited access to healthy food can impact overall wellbeing.
  5. Social Disconnection: Lack of social interactions due to time away from family and friends can erode mental health.

Self-Help Top Tips:

  1. Prioritise Rest: Create a sleep schedule and ensure you get adequate rest between shifts.
  2. Healthy Lifestyle: Make time for regular exercise and maintain a balanced diet to support both physical and mental health.
  3. Mental Breaks: Incorporate short breaks during long drives to stretch, relax, and refocus.
  4. Mindfulness Techniques: Practice deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness exercises to manage stress.

External Sources of Support:

  • Mind: A mental health charity offering resources, support, and information for people dealing with mental health challenges. Text “BeAMate” for free confidential health support 24/7 – a service provided by Working Minds campaign partner, Mates in Mind.

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC)

Drivers must undertake 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to keep their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). PGL is an accredited JAUPT centre and provides DCPC Training including accredited Mental Health and Stress course as part of periodic training. These modules are:

  1. Understanding Mental Health in the Workplace – 3.5 hours
  2. Improving Drivers Understanding of Mental Health – 3.5 hours

In conclusion, the HGV and haulage industry’s open road lifestyle comes at a high cost for many drivers, as stress and mental health issues take a toll. Recognizing the unique challenges they face is the first step in addressing this issue.

Get in touch:

Click here to email: info@pglmidlands.comCall: 0121400375

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