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Loneliness has become a subject of great significance since the rise in general consciousness around the importance of Mental Health. Capable of greatly influencing one’s wellbeing in a negative manner, the effects of loneliness have become subject to many studies. Several research studies have suggested that loneliness is associated with a number of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, increased stress levels and several others.
In Britain, according to the Mental Health Foundation, one in four adults experience feelings of loneliness at some point or all the time. That’s why the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on raising awareness over the way in which loneliness affects Mental Health as well as providing advice on how to efficiently tackle it.
Mental Health and the Rail Industry
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increase in feelings of loneliness across the general population. Increased feelings of depression and anxiety are being reported amongst the population nationwide.
A survey run by the Rail Safety and Standards Board found feelings of anxiety were being experienced at a rate 1.5 times higher amongst rail employees compared to the general population. Whilst some have attributed these results to a different methodology used by the surveys conducted within the rail industry, it is clear that rail workers have faced increased pressure during the pandemic.
Acknowledging the pressures faced by rail workers, several rail organisations have begun taking steps to improve the way in which mental health, as well as loneliness, are addressed. Several of these actions are taking place during Mental Health Awareness Week.
Great Western Railway and the Department for Transport have joined forces to fund a research project looking into the mental wellbeing of people within the rail industry. The Rail Safety and Standards Board have created a Railway Mental Health Charter, aimed at assisting railway organisations to manage, promote and support the mental health of rail workers. Network Rail, alongside their partner Chasing the Stigma, are looking to bring a touch of joy into people’s journeys and station workers' days with the help of nature.
The rail industry is and will continue to play an important role in tackling loneliness. From partnerships between TransPennine Express and Campaign to End Loneliness, to the presence of community rail within the government’s 2018 cross-departmental strategy to tackling loneliness, organisations in the rail industry have a history of supporting important causes.
Coyle Rail and Mental Health
Mental Health Awareness Week represents a reminder of the need to take care of ourselves as well as each other. At Coyle, we greatly understand the importance of this need. With this thought in mind, we have partnered with Health Assured to bring their Employee Assistance Programme services to our workers.
The main goal of the programme is to support employees dealing with personal problems which could negatively affect their health, wellbeing and work performance, and this service offers tremendous benefits for its users. From 24/7 free counselling, constant support with any difficulties and access to Online Health Portal, to Relationship Management and Management Support guides, rail workers have access to an abundance of great resources.
We have also put together a list of some of the best resources we have found, that offer great insights as well advice on tackling loneliness:
Following on from a challenging two years, experiencing feelings of anxiety and increased stress levels is expected. Whilst certain factors which influenced the emergence of these feelings were out of our control, the ways in which we choose to cope and deal with them is within our control.
With access to adequate resources and professional guidance, everyone should be able to increase their overall wellbeing and enjoy a higher quality of life. Understanding the impact of loneliness on mental health is the first step, acting on the advice provided by professional bodies is the second.
Active efforts need to be made, as tackling loneliness is a complex task, which does not impact people equally. While certain people could be isolated and not experience feelings of loneliness, others could be surrounded by other people and feel lonely. In spite of the way in which loneliness impacts you, a desire to act fuelled by the ambition to tackle this matter can influence a great change. We are stronger together!