Van drivers inspired by sportspeople to share mental health concerns

Stars from the world of sport are making it more acceptable for the van community to speak about their mental health and wellbeing, more than any profession in the UK, according to research from Mercedes-Benz Vans.

It revealed that 80% of van drivers said they feel they can talk more openly about their mental health after listening to their sporting heroes open up about their struggles.

The same study found that 41% of those working in the van community suffer with stress inside of work, compared to less than a quarter (23%) outside of work.

Sportsmen, sportswomen and athletes inspire 46% of the van community the most, helping to encourage healthier eating (33%), as well as prioritising physical (31%) and mental (27%) wellbeing, with 28% inspired to work harder in their careers.

According to the Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Barometer, which monitors the opinions on more than 2,000 people in van community, the power of sport inspires more than receiving encouragement from parents (33%), partners (20%) and kids (19%).

Sportspeople and athletes (46%) also inspired more than any other profession, including firefighters (23%), doctors (22%), police workers (18%), actors (18%) and singers (16%), with politicians inspiring just 10% of the van community.

With sports stars playing such a key and influential role, Muhammad Ali was cited as the most inspirational athlete, ahead of fellow boxer Tyson Fury.

Steve Bridge, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, said: “Stars of sport can have a positive effect on the public’s mental health and wellbeing by sharing their own stories to highlight that mental health impacts everyone and for some, in very negative and despairing ways. To see how these elite athletes have banished their demons and turned their lowest periods around, clearly helps others and shows that there can be light during dark times.”

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