Talk About It: Mental Illness Takes A Toll in Auto Glass Industry

There’s famously an important rule for “fight club”: don’t talk about it. While that might be smart for a fictional underground group, that same rule doesn’t apply to mental health. In fact, when it comes to the auto glass industry, we need to talk about it.

Ben, a charity for wellness support to people in the automotive industry, published a study on mental health in the automotive industry in 2019. In that study, the group found that a staggering 53% of automotive industry survey participants reported mental health and wellbeing issues had the biggest impact on them out of all health and wellbeing concerns. Of the auto businesses Ben surveyed, 25% reported that they’d had employees who were unable to work because of mental health issues.

Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can lead to devastating results when left unspoken and untreated. According to a 2021 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the suicide rate for people of “working age” has risen about 33% over the past two decades.

Broken down by industry, the study reports the suicide rate as 50.6 men and 10.4 women out of every 100,000 people working in automotive repair and similar services. With the current working age population, this is about 105,000 men and 22,000 women.

The Ben study emphasized the impact poor mental health has on the other elements of workers’ lives, such as their sleep. Of automotive industry employees Ben surveyed in 2018, 64% reported poor sleep.

Work itself plays a role in mental health. Ben’s study found that work stress impacted the health of 57% of the automotive industry employees they surveyed.

“These figures should be concerning for leaders and managers across all industries and sectors, including the automotive industry,” the study said. “Putting aside the moral and reputational reasons for caring about employees’ mental health, individuals struggling emotionally are unlikely to be performing at their best, which can impact colleagues.”

The Ben study recommended that employers prioritize mental health in the automotive industry and that managers regularly talk to their employees about how they are doing. Because, unlike fight club, the first step to improving mental health is talking to someone.

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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