Getting help, advice and support

A range of help and support services are provided by appropriately trained healthcare professionals. We want licensees to feel empowered to seek professional support when necessary, for both their physical and mental health. This page is intended to raise awareness of some of the services, guidance and support that is available.

Mental health

All of us face stress and situational / psychological stress at times. There is a difference between a mental illness and mental health issue as detailed below:

Mental illness (e.g. bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, recurrent depression) is a chronic condition and more severe than a mental health issue; although mental illness can respond very well to treatment, the condition and its symptoms can flare up throughout life.

Mental health issues (e.g. reactive depression, anxiety, phobias) are transient and generally overcome via internal coping mechanisms as well as external help such as short term medication, social support and counselling.

It is important to be self-aware and spot the early warning signs that you are feeling mentally unwell.

Everyone's experience with mental health is different, so symptoms can vary from person to person. However, there are some common signs to look out for regarding an individual's wellbeing:

  • becoming very withdrawn
  • persistently sad or tearful
  • more irritated or angry
  • can't sleep or sleeping a lot more
  • feeling of exhaustion
  • loss of appetite
  • a sense of hopelessness
  • little interest or pleasure in doing things
  • aches, pains or other physical problems
  • distraction, confusion, lapses in memory

The most common mental health issues are anxiety and depression. You can read more about the signs and symptoms here:

Depression

Anxiety

Getting help

The first step, if you are not feeling great, is to seek help and support at the earliest opportunity with your GP. This can provide access to counselling support and may also involve a physical check to ensure there is not an underlying medical issue for your symptoms e.g. poor sleep.

ALL mental health problems can be helped by:

  • Support
  • Talking therapies
  • Medications

The prognosis for the vast majority of conditions is very positive with the right help.

You can self-refer yourself to the NHS to access free psychological services via the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies scheme. Using your location, you can search for your local service before completing the self-referral form.

Charities and public services

A number of organisations offer help, support and guidance, including Mind and the Mental Health Foundation.

We've compiled a list of charities and public services that can help you and give you guidance or support when you need it most. This list isn't exhaustive and your GP or the NHS can also advise you of further resources that are available.

  • SANE

Website: http://www.sane.org.uk/home

Email: info@sane.org.uk

Phone: 0300 304 7000. Open every day from 4:30pm to 10:30pm.

  • Rethink Mental Illness

Website: https://www.rethink.org/about-us

Email: advice@rethink.org

Phone: 0300 5000 927

Rethink Mental Illness advise the phone line can get very busy and ask you to check the website first and then contact the team if you still need support.

  • Mind

Website: https://www.mind.org.uk/

Email: info@mind.org.uk

Phone: 0300 123 3393. Open 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday except Bank Holidays (calls charged at local rate).

  • Citizen's Advice Bureau

Website: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Phone: 03444 111 444

Citizens Advice has a network of charities offering confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. The Advice line is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. The phone line is usually busiest at the beginning and then end of the day.

  • CALM

Website: https://www.thecalmzone.net/help/get-help/

Phone: 0808 802 58 58

The helpline is for men in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. It is available 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year.

  • Free or low cost counselling can also be accessed by using South East London Counselling. Many organisations of the organisations listed operate a means-related sliding scale of fees or ask for a donation.

Support in the aftermath of a road traffic incident

If you have been involved in, or injured by a serious incident involving TfL services, you can contact the Incident Support Service.

  • Incident Support Service

Website: https://tfl.gov.uk/campaign/incident-support-service

Email: SHL@tfl.gov.uk

Phone: 0343 222 5678, Monday-Friday 08:00-18:00 (check TfL call charges). A voicemail service operates outside of these times.

If you have been bereaved as a result of an incident on the roads:

  • RoadPeace

Website: http://www.roadpeace.org/

Email: helpline@roadpeace.org

Phone: 0845 4500 355 (Open Monday to Friday 10am - 1pm. Call are charged at local rate).

The aftermath of a road crash is devastating. Road Peace help bereaved families cope and build resilience through peer support, our local group network, befriending service and trauma support programmes.

Charities

  • Time to Change

Website: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/

Time to Change is a growing social movement working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems.

  • Heads Together

Website: https://www.headstogether.org.uk/partners/charity-partners/

In exceptional circumstances, if you are concerned for your safety or that of another licensee) then please call 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E).

OnRoute

Our 'OnRoute' magazine also regularly features articles on driver wellbeing:

An article about how the quieter driving environment of an electric vehicle can have benefits for drivers.

Mental health - how to cope with stress and boost mental wellbeing

Advice on how to reduce the risk of back pain associated with long hours behind the wheel

Advice on sleep and driving fatigue

Advice for Knowledge students on how to cope with stress and anxiety related to their studies

An article about a driver's journey to better health

Advice on how to stay healthy behind the wheel

This page will be updated with future articles relevant to this topic. If you have any suggestions for articles on this topic, or any other, you can get in touch with the editor at OnRoute@tfl.gov.uk

Licensing requirements

Taxi and private hire applicants are required to meet DVLA Group 2 medical standards and once licensed, must tell us of any changes to their medical circumstances. This is to ensure the safety of our licensees and their passengers.

Licensees should seek treatment for any medical conditions at the earliest stage possible, to ensure they receive appropriate treatment.

Licensing action is only taken if the licensee does not meet DVLA Group 2 Medical Standards, which could present a risk to customers and indeed the licensee.

You can learn more about licensing by visiting our taxi and private hire pages.