This year, 2020, isn’t quite all bad news, but it feels like there is a negative slant on just about all we hear, it’s like bad news, good news, bad news, just when you’re feeling optimistic, something happens to bring the mood right down again.
We have seen the bush fires , followed by a short period of relief before the full implications of the coronavirus became clear. Then after a brief period where we flattened all the curves, it all sets off again. Probably the only comfort we, here in Australia, can take is feeling lucky we are not living in the many Covid hotspots around the world.
The other issue is that there is no end in sight, just changing predictions about the economic fallout from the crisis, which change every time the infection numbers’ rate of change moves up or down. Optimistic news about the progress of a vaccine also follows the same pattern, good news, bad news, good news.
We have very little control over our fates, we can be the most responsible individual or the most responsible organisation, but one false move by an individual can bring it all to nothing. These truly are trying times for everyone, but it is the lack of a clear endpoint which exacerbates the situation.
It is this lack of uncertainty which is probably going to weigh most heavily, in the long run, on people’s minds. When there is no clear way out of a bad situation, hopelessness becomes an issue and starts to affect the mental well being of the population.
Anyone involved in the trucking industry will be feeling this mood, which also has an added impact with the extra pressures being put upon those working in the industry.
Firstly, there is the need to keep the essential supplies moving to keep what is left of the economy’s wheels moving. Secondly, there is the pressure to work in a Covid-safe way, plus having the right paperwork for permits and testing to cross borders. All of this just piles on the stress to a population which is relatively highly stressed, even in normal times.
Therefore it was good to see some funding going to some worthy recipients via the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, which sees federal funding funnelled out through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to organisations working towards improved health and safety outcomes in trucking.
There is the Queensland Trucking Association’s initiative to raise the profile of truck driver health and well being and conduct practical health assessments for those on the road. There’s money for Transafe WA to educate others who share the road with us.
Women in Trucking are concentrating on the health of female truck drivers. Lindsay’s are working to improve Musculoskeletal health. The Transport Workers Union is being funded for a pilot of a ‘Transport Industry Mental Health Initiative’.
All of this funding is laudable, but we can be certain that it will not be enough to make the issue go away, simply mitigate the worst cases. However, anything which increases our knowledge in this area has to be supported wholeheartedly.
The most important thing we can do ourselves is keep our eyes and ears open. If someone is struggling, there will be subtle signs early on that something is amiss. We need to be tuned into those around us and if we suspect any kind of issue, do something about it. Talk to those involved or tell someone who may be able to help. It’s going to be rough ride for some time to come, so everyone needs as much help as they can get