Trucking is an extremely demanding, grueling, and often thankless job. A recent survey conducted by CareerCast rated the trucking profession as one of the most stressful jobs in America. The stresses involved in this industry can and do take a toll on the mental health of truckers, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and more issues. In honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month, this blog will explore some of the issues facing truckers and the opportunities for trucking carriers to better support the mental health of their drivers.
To retain top talent, carriers must reflect on how they can support their drivers and proactively address their mental health concerns. Moreover, it is essential that carriers have plans and policies to support drivers’ mental health, as it protects the lives and longevity of the drivers and the safety of the public on the road. Read on for five tips trucking carriers can use to support the mental health of their drivers:
- Promote Healthy Living Habits
Mental health is physical health and vice versa. Therefore, providing education and support for healthy eating habits, nutritious meals, and supplements is vital. Additionally, offering information about helpful exercises and stretches that can be done on the road goes a long way toward preventing and easing stress for drivers.
It’s also good to partner with a digital mental healthcare app that offers easy access to licensed counselors, fitness challenges, and health coaches.
- Offer AndChampion Supportive Resources
Carriers should have 24/7 driver-centric mental health support accessible via a provider that specializes in the trucking industry. A leading-edge industry-specific service like this understands the lifestyle challenges of drivers. This experience will allow the counselors to make specific recommendations that appeal to and are accessible to drivers. Change is difficult, but when a change makes drivers feel seen and heard, the barriers to acceptance are easy to overcome. It’s also in the carrier’s best interest to provide robust options for mental health services in your health insurance offerings.
- Talk About It
One of the biggest obstacles preventing truckers (and many other professionals) from seeking and accessing mental healthcare is the stigma surrounding the issue. The best thing you can do for your drivers is promote mental health awareness and early, proactive intervention through regular communications, driver meetings, and personal assessments. Touch base with your road warriors often; ensure you have an easy and accessible way to communicate with them while on the road.
In your messaging to your workforce and your policies, examine your language to eliminate the stigmatization of mental health services. Ensure that drivers understand the relationship between their physical and their mental health. To be successful in this endeavor, you’ll need to acknowledge that difficult and awkward issues exist. Shed light on things traditionally swept under the rug, like mental health, domestic violence, and substance use. Emphasize that help is available, and in fact, it is encouraged for drivers to take advantage of the provided resources when necessary.
One of the biggest concerns among drivers is that utilizing supportive resources will harm their careers. Therefore, we encourage carriers to clearly state that not utilizing these services to proactively manage their mental health can be detrimental to a career in transportation.
- Offer Good Training
Mental health support and de-stigmatization is a trickle-down effect. Everyone, including business leaders and managers, need to be on the same page, so train your administrative staff about the importance of mental health and the investment you want to make in the well-being of your workforce. Encourage everyone to speak up and be progressive thought leaders in this space.
- Know The Warning Signs
Prevention, while crucial, can only be so effective. However, knowing the signs to look for when someone is struggling can help you identify drivers who need support and get them the help they need before problems occur.
It’s no secret that the trucking industry has been slow to adopt driver protections regarding mental health. When carriers are having an ever-difficult time finding, and, more importantly, keeping, great drivers, being at the forefront of positive change in this industry is essential to beating the competition and seizing the lion’s share of market growth.