This week has seen the announcement of an initiative to develop a program of action on owner driver mental health. OzHelp has received a grant under the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) Round 4 Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI).
The project will develop a Health, Wellness and Suicide Prevention Program for Owner Drivers in the Transport Industry across Australia. This project will be developed over a 19-month period and will undertake research to identify the unique risk factors affecting truck drivers in Australia and how to design and make accessible practical supports to help drivers.
Suicide is a major cause of injury-related mortality in Australia; each year, approximately 3000 persons die due to suicide. The burden of suicide in rural and regional areas of Australia far exceeds the burden in metropolitan areas, and past research has identified males involved in the transport industry as being at particularly high risk of poor physical health, poor mental health and suicide.
To reduce the occurrence of poor health and suicide among truck drivers, it is important to gain better understanding of individual, social and environmental risk and protective factors that influence poor health and suicide in the transport industry.
Anyone aged 18 years or over, is invited to participate in a working group to discuss the issues, barriers and potential solutions relating to poor physical health, poor mental health and suicide in the transport industry.
The working group members will be truck drivers, and discussions will be by phone. It is expected to take 20 to 30 minutes, during which participants will be asked to discuss their views about influences on physical health, mental health and suicide, how it affects the truck drivers, barriers to accessing assistance, and looking for ways to ensure truck drivers at risk of developing poor health outcomes could be encouraged to seek help.
Participation in the working group will help inform evidence-based health, wellness and suicide prevention program for truck drivers in Australia. The questions you will be asked include:
- The Issues
- What do you believe are the issues that affect truck drivers’ wellness?
- The Barriers
- What do you believe are the barriers that prevent truck drivers from being well? Potential Solutions
- What do you believe are the solutions or potential programs that could help truck drivers maintain wellness?
- How to reach drivers
- What do you believe would be the best way to reach truck drivers in their trucks and remote locations?
Anyone wishing to participate, or with questions regarding the working group, is asked to contact the Project Manager – Doris Kordes (1300 694 357 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Also this week,WorkSafe Victoria has partnered with mental health advocate and author, Graeme Cowan, for a series of free workplace mental health webinars for the transport, warehousing, and logistics industries.
The purpose of the webinars is to provide industry leaders with the education and resources to promote positive mental health working conditions and prevent mental injury in the workplace.
Whilst one in five Australians are likely to experience a mental health condition, transport drivers show a seven per cent higher prevalence in developing a mental health condition in comparison to other Australians.
Given the current climate, workplace mental health and safety is even more important, yet the webinar content will always be applicable as we progress towards more mentally safe working environments.
WorkSafe’s WorkWell Toolkit
The WorkSafe WorkWell Toolkit is an online tool enabling a step by step approach for employers and managers to promote mental health and prevent mental injury in the workplace.
The Toolkit contains practical resources, such as tip sheets, policy examples, case studies, and templates covering work-related factors that impact workplace mental health.