Ben launches new loneliness initiative

Automotive charity Ben is marking the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week by shining a light on loneliness.

It has said that, following two years of disruption and periods of social isolation caused by the pandemic, loneliness has in itself become an epidemic, which has also increased social anxiety.

Ben’s recent Health and Well-being survey placed this issue in sharp focus – of those in the automotive industry who were surveyed, 31% confessed to having suffered from loneliness – a huge increase of 23% from the previous year. Loneliness saw a staggering increase in the over 45s, factory workers, and among those who have retired from the industry, while 50% of automotive workers confirmed that they have issues managing their mental health – indicating that mental health struggles in the automotive industry are more prevalent than in the general population.

To support those who are struggling with social anxiety and loneliness, Ben has launched a new ‘Space from Social Anxiety’ programme on the SilverCloud platform – designed specifically to help people find out about symptoms, understand its causes and develop coping strategies to manage their social anxiety.

Rachel Clift, health and well-being director at Ben, said: “If you suffer from loneliness, you are not alone. Our recent survey highlighted the huge impact that Covid-19 has had on the mental health of our community and loneliness and social anxiety have risen sharply over the past 12 months. Our industry is one of the most affected by mental health issues, so we want everyone in the automotive community to know that while they may feel alone, they aren’t. We are here, ready to help and support them through whatever challenges life may be throwing at them right now and in the future.

“Social anxiety and loneliness can be managed and we have a number of ways we can support people who are struggling, including our new SilverCloud programme ‘Space from Social Anxiety. During Mental Health Awareness week, we want to reach out to our automotive family and offer them a helping hand. You don’t have to face loneliness or social anxiety alone.”