During this time, it is more important than ever to be looking out for your mental health. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there is a heightened uncertainty and unpredictability about the future.
That is why we believe it is important to find constructive methods and practices to help people get through this difficult time. This means finding a way to make your mental health a priority.
We are very honoured to be in a position where the work we do at Carter Heavy Haulage can still be carried out. We also understand that the faces behind our industry may be experiencing battles of their own.
Mental health in the trucking industry
While one in five Australians are likely to be experiencing a mental health condition, professional truck drivers have a 7 per cent higher chance of developing depression than other Australians (Australian Rotary Health). Many truck drivers face long hours, chronic fatigue and often feel isolated when on the road. With the addition of tight delivery deadlines, this can also contribute to elevated stress in what is already a challenging workplace.
These factors can often contribute to truck-related accidents, injuries and fatalities which between 2014-2019 accounted for 268 fatal crashes, with on average 54 fatal crashes per year (Transport for NSW).
At Carter Heavy Haulage we make a consistent effort every-day to lower this statistic. We do this by offering our staff and clients all the health and safety support they need. This allows us to make sure people are not only doing their job safely but are putting their health and wellbeing first.
We have a rigorous WHS safety system in place to educate and inform our drivers on the proper safety measures they should be following both on and off the road. At Carter Heavy Haulage we also pride ourselves on a strong commitment to a positive team culture that fosters open communication.
Speaking up, whilst difficult, is something we encourage our clients and drivers to do. From there we work with each client/driver individually to assess their needs and offer them the best support we can.
Putting your mental health first
When it comes to understanding and looking out for your own mental health, there are a number of things we recommend considering. These things include;
- Looking out for the signs
There are often many signs that point to the development of mental health concerns. Being able to understand and identify these signs can help you to make take the necessary actions needed to better manage your mental health.
Some of these signs include, but are not limited to things such as;
- Changes in behaviour and feelings
- Anxiousness and heightened worry
- Being quiet or withdrawn from others
- Feeling depressed or unhappy
- Irregular sleeping patterns
- Substance abuse
- Emotional outbursts
If you find yourself experiencing one or more of these feelings on a regular basis, that’s where we recommend the following two steps to help you manage your mental health every-day.
- Finding coping mechanisms that work for you
When it comes to finding ways to manage your mental health, there is no cookie-cutter approach. Everyone’s experiences will be different, and some methods are more helpful than others.
However, it cannot hurt to try out a few different options to see what works best for you and your situation. Some common coping mechanisms that are recommended by psychologists and other health professionals include;
- Engaging in regular physical activity
- Relaxation activities such as meditation, listening to soft music, breathing techniques, practicing mindfulness techniques etc.
- Seeking support through a counsellor or psychologist
- Communicating with peers and loved ones
It’s worth noting these are just some of the many ways to cope with your mental health concerns. With a quick Google search, there are thousands of options at your fingertips. So, find what works best for you.
- Reach out to someone – don’t go at it alone
With a large list of resources and support available in person and online, we advise you to seek out these options when you may be experiencing some of the signs mentioned earlier.
Our team are here to help as best as we can for our drivers and clients, but we know our support cannot be a replacement for professional support.
These professionals will be able to advise you on the best actions to take so you can manage your mental health now and into the future.
A list of resources and support lines can be found here.
Our passion for a greater cause
Over the years we have dedicated our time to local initiatives that are doing their part to ensure the health and wellbeing of others.
One of the initiatives we have been proud to support over the years is Got Your Back Sista. This is an organisation set up to provide ongoing support and resources to individuals and families who are escaping domestic violence. Our Co-Founder, Leonnie Carter, alongside other members of our team have shown their support for Got Your Back Sista through regular event attendance and sponsorship.
“Supporting Got Your Back Sista has been a no brainer and is a cause close to the hearts of many team members. The rate of domestic violence in the Hunter region has increased by 10 per cent. In fact from December 2018 to December last year, there have been over 140 new cases of domestic related assaults recorded in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie area. These figures contribute to greater issues in our community as well, with the dramatic rise of mental health issues and families left in financial/emotional distress,” she said.
“Carter Heavy Haulage are proud to be able to do our part to help in reducing these numbers. We understand that our team wouldn’t be what it is today without the women behind it. And our truckies wouldn’t be able to do what they do without the families and women that support them. So, it’s vital to us to support other women in our community in any way we can.”
To learn more about the work of Got Your Back Sista, you can check out their projects here.
Know your resources and seek support if needed
At Carter Heavy Haulage our number one concern is the health and wellbeing of others. So, if you’re concerned about a friend or loved one, ask them how you can help.
If you are finding it hard to cope, remember that you are not alone! Reach out to a trusted family member or friend and share how you feel.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking with someone you know, there are many great community support services designed to help people facing feelings of distress, many of which are offered completely free of charge.
Here are a few resources that might be able to assist you:
- Lifeline | 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue | 1300 22 4636
- Kids Helpline | 1800 55 1800
- Suicide Call Back Service | 1300 659 467
- Head to Health website
- MensLine Australia | 1300 789 978
- Headspace | 1800 650 890
- ABC News Health
If you’re concerned a friend or loved one is at immediate risk of suicide or self-harm, dial triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.
Our team are here to help provide support to our drivers, clients and staff at large in any capacity we can. Get in touch with the team today if you wish to discuss these issues further.