Truckies drive change in mental health plan
Image from Kenji Sato, The Daily Advertiser: Ron Finemore Transport truck drivers Michael Gately and Jason Larfield.
TRUCKIES and warehouse workers have joined forces to launch a mental health roadmap, which is a nation-wide strategy to reduce depression and suicide in the logistics industry.
The plan was launched on Friday by the non-profit Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds, which is rolling out mental health resources for warehouses and trucking companies around the country.
One of the truckies on board is Ron Finemore Transport driver Jason Larfield, who has been behind the wheel for nearly 20 years.
Mr Larfield said it was a lonely profession at times. He sometimes spends upwards of 12 hours on the road alone with his thoughts.
"As drivers we spend too much time on our own and we overthink. It's the truck driver's curse, I call it," Mr Larfield said.
"Truck driving's not an easy job. We spend a lot of time away from families and away from home."
His colleague Michael Gately has been in the driver's seat for about 40 years, and over the decades he has come up with the mental skillsets to keep himself in a positive frame of mind.
While on the highway he listens to podcasts and audiobooks, and he regards each day as an opportunity to learn something new and expand his horizons.
In addition to looking after his own mental health, Mr Gately tries to look out for his mates whenever he can.
"You can tell when someone's having a hard time, so you try to get them to talk," he said.
"Instead of pondering on something that's gone wrong during the day you should try and focus on your next holiday trip, something that gets you out of the doldrums. Think about why you're doing it, and why you're working."
"When things are outside of your control, don't let it get to you. If you're getting held up and there's nothing you can do about it, don't fester on it. Try and see the glass half-full."
The roadmap received a $600,000 grant from the federal government through the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said it was a much-needed investment because truck drivers and warehouse workers were the people who kept the Australian economy going.
"Our truckies are the lifeblood of the nation. They deliver everything in Australia except for babies," Mr McCormack said.
"They are the heroes of the nation through the coronavirus, along with our frontline medical responders."
If you suffer from depression or anxiety you can call Murrumbidgee Accessline on 1800 800 944, Lifeline on I3 II 14, or the Suicide Callback Service on I 300 659 467.
View the article from The Daily Advertiser here.