Mental Health Of Truck Drivers Needs More Attention
Truck drivers are on the roads most of the time and face stressful environment. Their mental health gets effected due to the demanding nature of driving for most part of the day. According to Andrea Morley, program manager of Healthy Trucker Nutritionist Program, the main focus of any driver health program should be the mental health of the truck drivers.
Truck drivers face mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, anger and addiction due to the highly demanding nature of trucking in Cambridge, Ottawa or any other place. It has become essential to bring mental health into primary focus along with the physical health of the drivers as mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand.
We cannot expect to maintain good physical health if the drivers are suffering from poor mental health. Stress leads to the release of Cortisol and Adrenaline hormones, which results in increase of blood pressure and abdominal fat. As a result, there is an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Stress hormones also cause fatigue, which impacts the reaction times of the drivers and lead to fatal accidents.
Morley suggests that Doctors should assess the mental health of the truckers along with physical health during the DOT physicals. The drivers should also be more proactive and report any mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression etc. to the doctors. The doctors should take both mental and physical health into consideration and report whether a person qualifies to have their license or not.
According to Morley, more research needs to be done to establish the link between mental health disorders and driver reaction times. She observed that there is a drastic increase in drivers suffering with brain injuries such as concussions and chronic injuries. If a driver suffers from these issues during stressful periods in their life, they are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome and other mental health conditions. These issues are more visible in older drivers, especially who are nearing the retirement age but could not retire due to their financial conditions.
Companies engaged in trucking in Cambridge or other cities in Canada should recognize the importance of mental health of the drivers and take steps to support them as much as possible.