The trucking industry can be unpredictable and the conditions of the road are often outside a driver’s control. According to statistics reported by the mental health charity Mind, 30% of worked-related illness in the transport and logistics industry are due to stress, depression and anxiety. Source: https://www.rtitb.co.uk/are-you-monitoring-the-mental-health-of-your-lgv-drivers/
Adapted from the advice form Dr. Jeff Nalin, a licensed clinical psychologist, these are some practical steps that you can take to lessen the stressors of work.
• Video communication has been found to be an effective tool for mental health therapy. Distance should no longer be a hindrance in receiving valuable mental health services. Some therapists even cater to the needs of truckers and their families and maintaining healthy communication.
• Sustaining quality relationships is vital to keep social isolation and loneliness at bay. Advancing technology makes it easier to keep in touch with loved ones more than ever. Smartphones can be connected to dashboard communications – freeing you to speak safely over the phone while being on the road – but they also can be used for video communication when the truck is parked and having a rest. While not a ideal substitute for talking to a loved one face-to-face, research shows that long-distance relationships can benefit significantly from this added component to communication.
Sleep deprivation is a major factor affecting both physical and mental health. A study of seasoned drivers has formulated some good advice for truckers struggling to enough time for quality sleep. This could be as simple as creating consistent driving schedules, taking breaks earlier or more often in the trip as and when needed, and reducing tobacco and caffeine intake. Additionally, regulations are in place for truckers when it comes to employer demands that clash with the need for sleep.
Finally, you need to know that you are not alone in your struggles. Truckers have a reputation of being ‘tough’. This perception may discourage drivers from seeking help when it is needed. As awareness of the mental health needs of drivers in this industry increases, so does the available resources of support available.