Suicide is now the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. Many of those who take their own lives struggle with mental health issues and suffer in silence for fear of isolation, ridicule or lack of support from those around them.
To raise awareness of the issue and provide help and support for those who could be suffering, Van Excellence, an industry-led scheme promoting the safe and proper operation of vans, is launching a campaign today in partnership with charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to address the stigma around mental health and raise awareness of the resources available for men, many working as drivers, who could be uncertain of where to obtain help and advice.
With one in five van drivers describing their current mental health as poor or very poor, the scheme, which was launched at Fleet Live!, will see vehicle hire and leasing companies offering support packs and information to all customers. Crafted by Van Excellence in association with the charity’s key advisers, the packs promote CALM’s support services and will be made available to all those leasing through organisations including Arval, Activa, Reflex Vans, Arnold Clark and Venson Automotive Solutions, which are the first companies to have signed up to the scheme.
Mark Cartwright , Head of Vans and Light Commercial Vehicles at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), which administers the scheme, explains why he launched the campaign: “When I heard suicide is now the biggest killer of men under 45, I was moved to take action. Van drivers often operate in highly pressured and lonely environments, and the combination of tight deadlines and isolation can lead to stress, exhaustion and poor nutrition.
“Van Excellence is committed to improving the wellbeing of all its drivers. We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reaction from the industry; we’re so grateful to our first partners – Arval, Activa, Reflex Vans, Venson Automotive Solutions and Arnold Clark – for joining us on this journey and we look forward to welcoming more partners on board.
“Too often, individuals suffer in silence and we hope this campaign will help overcome the stigma associated with this illness and provide much-needed support.”
Simon Gunning , CEO of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), commented: “The work Van Excellence are doing to support their drivers is outstanding and we’re delighted to be partnering with them. We believe the packs distributed to drivers will start plenty of conversations – some of which might just be lifesaving – so we’re proud to be getting the CALM message out across this community.”
As part of the campaign launch, Van Excellence, CALM and its partners Bott and Mercedes-Benz branded a Mercedes-Benz van with awareness messaging at Fleet Live! and encouraged visitors to the Van Excellence stand to sign up to expand the reach of the programme. The van was kindly provided by Van Excellence Platinum partner Mercedes-Benz Vans and Gold partner Bott.
Van Excellence invites all companies to sign up to scheme, for more information please email [email protected] or call 03717 11 22 22
Administrated by FTA, the leading organisation in UK logistics, Van Excellence was created in 2010 to promote the safe operation of vans, represent the interests of the sector, and celebrate operators demonstrating excellent standards. Central to the scheme is the Van Excellence Code, a set of minimum best practice standards all van operators should aspire to achieve, covering safety, efficiency and sustainability.
For more information on Van Excellence, including how to join the scheme, please contact
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. In 2017, three in every four UK suicides were male (ONS). CALM works to prevent male suicide by providing services for men who are down or in crisis, and by campaigning for culture change around issues including suicide, mental health and masculinity.
CALM’s free, anonymous and confidential helpline & webchat are open every day, 5pm-midnight.
For more information please visit