UK taxi drivers - Ghost towns leaving many feeling isolated with no one to turn to

With huge parts of the UK on the verge of complete lockdown, taxi drivers are feeling the financial squeeze as much as anyone right now.

The maths is simple: no travel = no work. No work = no earnings. Leaving thousands of men and women on the edge of financial hardship.

As self-employed workers, and no real security in place, many taxi drivers across the UK are feeling left alone to fend for themselves, working all hours of the day in a desperate bid to scrape together enough fares to pay bills and buy food before the nation's complete shutdown.

Stress levels will no doubt hit dangerous and worrying levels for many, making the risk of mental health issues just as much of a concern as contracting Coronavirus itself.

At times like this when everyone is focusing on their physical health, it's important mental health is also carefully observed.

Anyone with concerns that can severely impact their mental health in a negative way should be encouraged more than ever to talk - especially men, who are known to 'bottle up' their emotions more than women.

We all know social media can be a cruel, dark, place at times, where keyboard warriors choose to flex their fingertip muscles, but it can also serve a positive purpose if people are willing to listen rather than shut others down.

Scanning Facebook groups set up for taxi drivers in the UK and even globally, you will unfortunately see many men told by others to "man up" or "stop being so negative" every time they air their concerns surrounding the trade - or lack of it.

Yes, it may well be true that negativity breeds negativity and positivity breeds positivity, but it's also fair to say, no human alive can remain positive at all times.

So here's a thought; if someone makes a comment that may be perceived as negative, maybe not instantly judge them as being part of the "doom and gloom" brigade and consider they are most likely struggling mentally at that moment. Even if it is just for that moment, either way it could be the perfect opportunity to offer support, no matter how small.

Many taxi drivers will be in a very similar situation, with work levels already extremely competitive before Coronavirus came to town, the advised travel restrictions and work-from-home advice has now left most cities looking like ghost towns.

Being there for one another is now important for drivers to consider with emotions likely to rise and fall probably on an hourly basis.

So next time a driver is brave enough to show some vulnerability, whether on social media or face-to-face on a taxi rank, don't instantly shut them down, it may just be their way of saying "I want to talk" or "I'm struggling here".

Take a moment before you decide to reply with "you are not helping ME by talking like that", "your negativity is not good for ME", or "stop moaning, I don't want to hear that", and instead possibly offer some positive reinforcement or advice, or simply ask "how are YOU feeling? YOU are not alone".

Sticking together has never been more important for the self-employed who are fighting to survive the worldwide pandemic which is the Coronavirus AND mental health.

Image: Pixabay

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