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Fighting the stigma around depression in trucking

Fighting the stigma around depression in trucking

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Here’s a sobering fact for you: trucking is the eighth highest occupation most likely to commit suicide.

To say this doesn’t make for easy reading is an understatement, but it’s a conversation we need to have.

Many truckers will know someone who has suffered from depression – many will have experienced its effects for themselves. However, few truckers are willing to talk about it and share their experiences. For many, depression is considered unmanly, something that can be defeated if you put your mind to it.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

But while many truckers are reluctant to seek help, perhaps they would be more inclined to visit a Facebook page that deals with the issue.

Truckers For Truckers (Fight Against Depression And Suicide) has been created by veteran truck driver Michael Suson. A closed Facebook group, it is designed to give truckers and their families a platform through which to communicate with others affected by depression.

The group has nearly 3,200 members – all of whom are current or former truck drivers, or are spouses or relatives of truckers. Posts are often from individuals keen to reach out to others and share their experiences. It is a safe environment and a place where advice and support can be offered and received..

A lot has been done to break down the stigma surrounding mental health – but there is still a long way to go.

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5 Comments

  1. I’m in full agreement with this, modern truck driving, by and large, doesn’t involve a huge input from the driver what with power steering, air suspension, automatic transmissions and cruise control coupled with climate control and satellite navigation, it gives an awful lot of opportunity to think about the downside of HGV driving, in particular the extreme hours, the lack of contact with work colleagues and time away from family and friends.
    It makes for a recipe of negativity and self pity if you’re not careful, night driving in particular compounds the feeling of isolation

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  2. I have suffered over the years with anxiety and depression not wanting to be away from home at night to not wanting to leave the house most firms don’t want to know because a driver has to be out there turning wheels to the max
    If you are not feeling good in yourself you cannot work safely and efficiently see a doctor don’t be afraid to admit your fears and problems only by talking can you help yourself

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  3. Problem is! If you go to your doctor saying you have depression or suffering from PTSD you can either have your HGV licence revoked or not renewed at your next medical, so you unfortunately have got to suffer in silence

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  4. @DonDriving is that true? That’s ridiculous! I’m currently working towards my transport manager CPC and work as a planner for an events company, and I try to encourage our drivers to talk to me about all of these things.

    Having suffered with anxiety and depression for the best part of 15 years I can completely sympathise with you guys.

    There is always time to talk and all drivers should feel supported at work with whatever mental illness or personal situation you’re going through.

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  5. @dondriving and Paddy_m

    That’s not something I’ve encountered in the UK, my doctor gave me time off work and my company were extremely helpful and offered to do anything (within reason) that they could to help me back to work.

    When I felt ready to return to eased me back in a day at a time and sent me out with a driver’s mate for a few weeks.

    Reply

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