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Aware are educating Dublin taxi drivers so that they can discuss mental health with passengers

This initiative could make a huge impact.

Ireland: Christmas Season in Dublin Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

IN A NEW campaign called Drivers of Change, mental health charity Aware are training some of Dublin’s taxi drivers so that they’re better equipped to notice and deal with vulnerable passengers.

Aware’s Director of Services Brid O’Meara said:

Taxi drivers are very well placed in the community to assist in the reduction of stigma in the area of mental health. Our first workshop with drivers, which is hopefully the beginning of many, was a very valuable opportunity to impress upon the drivers the role they can play in signposting information and supporting services where appropriate.
There is real potential for taxi drivers to foster positive change as part of this campaign.

PastedImage-81507 Source: Aware/Facebook

The drivers educated by Aware all work with the mytaxi app. So there’s something you can chat about with them next time, rather than asking what time they’re working until or if they’re on for long.

Most drivers don’t receive any kind of training relating to mental health. One driver spoke of how over the years he has had three passengers who have told him that they were going to take their own lives. It’s likely that this is the case for many other drivers, and this initiative is giving these taxi drivers resources to deal with these situations.

Brid O’Meara can see already how the workshops are helping drivers:

A gentleman came to me after the session this morning to say that he’s been in situations where people have been in his taxi and have described how they’ve been recently bereaved, that somebody close to them has died. He said the way he managed it was he’d say “I’m really sorry for your troubles”, but he felt he was closing down the conversation.
I suggested to him, would he consider saying “That must be really difficult for you.” Immediately he said “Of course. That would work really well.” So that’s the type of thing we’re doing.

Drivers from mytaxi that participate in the workshops are also being encouraged to stick Aware stickers and leaflets in their taxis as part of educating themselves and their passengers about mental health and the services that Aware provide.

If you need to talk, contact:
Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
Aware 1800 804848 (depression, anxiety)
Pieta House 1800 247247 or email mary@pieta.ie – (suicide, self-harm)
Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833634 (for ages 13 to 19)
Childline 1800 666666 (for under 18s)

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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