The R U OK project is aimed at raising awareness, reducing mental health stigma and preventing suicide by working collaboratively with the transport sector to effectively communicate suicide prevention messages to the Transport and Logistics Sector, a large employer of people within Kent.
We aim to create an open and accepting environment so employees can talk about their mental health without judgement or fear of job security. We believe that suicide can be prevented through open and direct conversations and by raising awareness. We want to create a cultural shift in the way we talk about suicide.
In a male-dominated transport sector, long hours and the isolation of long-distance driving and a poor work-life balance impacts negatively on mental health and relationships with families.
Middle-aged men traditionally were raised in a culture telling them to “man up” and hide their emotions as a stoic form of masculinity. This, coupled with the fact that drivers can be fined up to £1,000 for non-disclosure of a medical condition to the DVLA that may affect your driving, (including depression and the use of some antidepressants) has led to a huge stigma around mental health and a culture of silence.
Beginning in early 2019, through a Facebook campaign, engagement with drivers' forums, R U OK bumper stickers on trucks across the county and a driver drop-in, we are going to help break down the stigma surrounding mental health, provide an accessible service for those in the transport industry, and encourage good mental health!
We are working in partnership with the Release the Pressure campaign to provide 24/7 telephone support for employees of logistics and transport companies.