Opening minds

Meera Rambissoon, Senior Consultant with the TAS Partnership, has published the findings of a unique survey that looks at how well the mental health needs of passengers and staff are being met by bus operators.

Meera hopes that the results of the survey, Getting our heads around mental health and transport, will “act as a springboard for encouraging actual change where change is needed and, crucially, also realistic.”

Of those surveyed, 80% of people had experienced some form of mental illness and 87% had friends or family who had experience of it.

When asked about how their mental health had affected their use of public transport, 54% had experienced a mental health problem while on public transport, 49% reported being put off using public transport because of their mental health and 10% felt unable to use public transport at all as a direct result of their mental health.

These respondents reported feeling trapped, crowded, pressured by time or by having to converse with someone, stress, feeling alone, and not having access to a toilet or to a member of staff to ask for help.

The top three measures respondents felt would make their journey easier were positive interactions with staff, a card system or something similarly discreet to indicate the need for assistance or understanding, and travel training.

The survey goes on to look at the responses from operators including MDs, directors and chief executives, to explore how mental health is treated within their organisations. The report ends with a quote from an operator respondent: “The nature of public transport is that it can be a chaotic environment often subject to factors beyond its control… you may have a vulnerable person scared to approach a member of staff who is themselves agitated by a stressful situation. Both need to be protected here and this should be recognised.”

Click here to read the report in full Getting our heads around mental health and transport

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