Checking in on a friend’s mental health can be hard enough, let alone a complete stranger. But as comedian Arj Barker just revealed, it doesn’t have to be as awkward as you fear.
“A lot of people try too hard, but less is more.” Arj might have said this in reference to his DiDi driver’s beard (as part of a campaign to promote mental health awareness in the four wheel gig economy), but it can apply to checking in on anyone’s mental health.
But first: context. What’s this all about? Essentially, as part of Movember, Chinese rideshare giant DiDi has partnered with Arj Barker, a US comedian who has appeared on such shows as ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’ and ‘Thank God You’re Here’ (as well as the sitcom, ‘Flight Of The Conchords’), to encourage rideshare passengers to give their drivers’ a lift by starting a conversation.
Why? Though it may seem simple, one conversation can have a positive impact on your driver’s mental health and wellbeing, combat social isolation and loneliness, and prove you aren’t a smartphone obsessed zombie. Plus: all it takes is a minute of your time.
Not to mention, in an era where passengers are calling for ‘quiet mode‘ and where there is mounting evidence (see here and here) to suggest that working in the gig economy can be detrimental to your mental health, it’s more important than ever to look after each other.
To get the message across, DiDi has collaborated with comedian Arj Barker to create a video series to inspire riders to get chatting with their drivers.
DiDi has also started an awareness campaign among rideshare drivers on issues championed by Movember.
As reported by B&T, “Throughout November, DiDi will publish several educational features on its DiDi Driver App with the assistance of Movember’s men’s health experts.”
“Furthermore, DiDi will lend its support by donating 10 cents per ride to Movember throughout the month up to $70,000.”
Movember is the leading global men’s health charity committed to changing the face of men’s health, with the aim of reducing premature male deaths, via raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health issues and suicide prevention.
DiDi Australia general manager, Lyn Ma said of the initiative: “We have a tremendous driver community at DiDi and are extremely proud to have established a partnership with Movember to promote awareness of men’s mental and physical health among drivers and riders on the DiDi platform.”
Movember country director APAC, Rachel Carr said: “This Movember we want to kick-start conversations around the country, to change men’s attitudes on taking action for their health – including getting regular check-ups.”
“By having a meaningful interaction with your rideshare driver, you can not only brighten someone’s day, but will also be helping to tackle social isolation and loneliness.”
“We’re thrilled to team up with DiDi and have the ability to educate thousands of rideshare drivers, and passengers, in the hope they lead healthier, happier and longer lives,” Rachel continued.
Our top picks from the video? Ask your rideshare driver how they are, how their day has been, engage in some light-hearted ribbing of their facial hair (if appropriate) and – if you’re feeling particularly spontaneous – there’s always a cheeky Maccas run.