Mental health isn’t always something that people feel comfortable talking about, but it is an issue that needs to be brought more into public consciousness.

With that in mind, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK has published new research highlighting the positive impact that sports stars can have on normalising the conversation around mental health for the nation’s van drivers.

Normalising conversations around mental health

According to the research, 80 per cent of UK van drivers now feel more comfortable discussing their own mental health after seeing some of the biggest names in the sporting world reveal their own battles with mental wellbeing.

Indeed, this is a fantastic development for the sector, as 41 per cent of UK van drivers say they suffer from work-related stress.

Steve Bridge, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, commented: “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.”

Overall, the research showed that sports people can have the most impactful messages to convey, with 46 per cent of all respondents to the study stating this group more than any other could teach them a lot about how to better handle their own mental wellbeing.

The athletes which respondents claimed to have had the most influential impact on them were Muhammad Ali, David Beckham, Tyson Fury, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Why is mental health so important?

Across the UK, it’s estimated that one in four people will suffer from some form of mental health crisis during their lifetime. As a result, it’s absolutely crucial that people realise this a problem that affects every one of us.

Approximately 43 million people will be diagnosed with a mental health complaint each year, so bringing the problem out of the shadows and making it much more normal to discuss our own mental wellbeing is vastly important.

Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “Awareness of mental health problems is improving all the time and the positive impact that athletes and sporting professionals can have to normalise conversations around these types of issues can only be a good thing for the nation as a whole.”

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