Carroll calls for Trans-Help funding

Dianne Carroll, founder and chief executive of Trans-Help Foundation.

According to a psychiatrist, James Ashby, the former adviser to the former speaker of parliament, Peter Slipper, is suffering from “chronic and pervasive mental health symptoms” and has considered driving into an oncoming truck as a result of the actions of his former boss.

The revelations come from court documents relating to Ashby’s sexual harassment claim against Slipper in the federal court. It is apparently documented that Ashby reported feeling “withdrawn and fearful” and experiencing “a strong desire to drive his car in front of an oncoming truck”.

Ashby reportedly said the reason he had not done so was “because it would involve trauma for the truck driver.”

Yet it’s a sad fact that on average five people each week follow through with a ‘suicide by truck’.

In the more than six years since it was established, Trans-Help Foundation has assisted thousands of trucking industry personnel and their families in crisis, including supporting and assisting victims of suicide. And over this time the national transport charity, founded by its current chief executive Dianne Carroll OAM, has received little in the way of government support and funding to help with this ongoing need.

“We hear about the suicides involving trains and their drivers, the celebrities overdosing, the kids at school, sportsmen jumping off hotel rooves; and the media and public following through with tributes and offers of condolences,” Carroll said. “But it is considered taboo for the media to mention the word suicide when a truck is involved even though a significant proportion of crashes involving heavy vehicles and cars or pedestrians are in fact suicides or suicide attempts.

“Instead the truck driver is often victimised by the media, the general public, social media and the authorities.

“Headlines like ‘Truck hits and kills pedestrian’ or ‘B-double kills three when it slams into car’ are statements these drivers and their families have to live with for the rest of their lives.

“This leads to the innocent truck driver becoming a victim, given a life sentence and in many cases results in family break up and severe post traumatic stress disorder for the driver due to the road trauma.

“We’ve had in total 14 ministers visit our organisation, including the StaySafe Committee, and commend us on the work we do, the support we give and the difference we make, but not one has followed through to help us obtain any funding or support as promised,” Dianne added. “Now we have a parliament staffer admitting he’d thought about ending his life by driving into an oncoming truck. What would have occurred if he had followed through?”

For more information on Trans-Help Foundation call 1300 787 996 or visit www.transhelpfoundation.com.au

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