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Transport and Mental Health – A year of progress

This Mental Health Awareness Week marks the one year anniversary of the 2016 Mental Health and Transport summit report being published. The report summarises the key outcomes of the national Mental Health and Transport Summit, organised by Anxiety UK and the Mental Health Action Group. The summit was designed to highlight and improve transport and accessibility issues for those living with mental health conditions including anxiety, stress or anxiety based depression.

One year on, Anxiety UK and the Mental Health Action Group are celebrating the progress that has been made and are looking to the future to consider what work still needs to be done.

“It was always going to be important to keep the positive momentum built initially at the 2016 Transport & Mental Health conference going; this report summary illustrates the progress made to date.  Our journey however in respect of this important aspect of transport provision, is a continuing one. On this note, we look forward to sharing further successes and achievements down the line  as we continue to strive to make transport accessible for those experiencing mental health difficulties such as anxiety, stress and anxiety based depression” – Nicky Lidbetter, CEO – Anxiety UK

 “The Mental Health Action Group was delighted with the response of transport providers and regulators at the Mental Health & Transport Summit in 2016. Many pledges were made to improve understanding and assistance for customers with a mental health condition. For our own part we have continued to support and encourage as many of these initiatives as we can.  It is a good time on Mental Health Awareness Week for us all to take stock and consider what further contribution we can all make to ensuring that public transport becomes not only a possibility but a pleasure!” – Niki Glazier, Co-ordinator – Mental Health Action Group

 

Over the past year, both organisations have been busy working to make a real difference to facing transport and accessibility issues. Below we have outlined some of our key progress highlights from each organisation.

Work undertaken by Anxiety UK has included:

  • Establishing solid links with the Bus Users Group and working with them on a bus users and anxiety project (this will see those with anxiety who travel by bus chronicle their experiences with this feedback being shared with bus operators to hopefully improve customer experience).
  • Linking in with Transport Focus and meeting with them to advise of the issues that those with anxiety conditions face when trying to travel using public transport
  • Hosting a focus group for Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) regarding a project of theirs that aims to explore and better understand the relationship between mental health and transport.

Work undertaken by the Mental Health Action Group has included:

  • Undertaking rail experience days with Rail Delivery Group staff to help them understand the difficulties experienced by people living with a mental health condition. This will help drive their programme of accessibility improvements making sure that people with a non-visible disability such as mental health are not overlooked when it comes to assistance and adjustments.
  • Presenting to transport professionals at the ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ Seminar hosted by the Chartered Institute for Transport & Logistics.
  • Continuing as official Observers on DPTAC (Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee) providing insight and knowledge from a mental health perspective.

Work undertaken by both Anxiety UK and the Mental Health Action Group has included:

  • Being interviewed by Roger Mackett, Centre for Transport Studies, University College London in respect of issues faced by those with anxiety for the report that he produced for the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) entitled: ‘Building Confidence – Improving travel for people with mental impairments’.
  • Providing in-kind consultancy input in respect of the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) guidance for airports on providing assistance to people with hidden disabilities

 

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