Truck driving is a solitary career and the effects have an impact on mental health, likely resulting in higher rates of depression among drivers.
First and foremost, drivers spend a lot of time alone. While one of the careers great bonuses, this can also be a trigger for depression. Drivers often talk about having nothing but time to think about everything from missed family to finances. Spending too much time “in your head” without the support of others can be detrimental to truck drivers.
Secondly, sleep factors. Simply put, we need sleep to restore and refresh our mind and body. Depression and anxiety can be brought on by sleep deprivation. Be sure to use your down time for your own care.
Thirdly, when the wheels aren’t turning, in most cases, drivers are earning a paycheck. Money problems weigh on the minds of many but drivers are constantly counting miles against the hours left on the clock.
Finally, relationships take work. Being on the road for days or weeks at a time increase the challenges; many drivers experience relationship failure, sometimes multiple failures. Separation and divorce at deemed among the top five life stressors, and coupled with time alone with their thoughts, drivers are at greater risk of developing depression.
What to look for:
There are a few common signs to watch out for that can be signs of depression. If you find yourself experiencing these, don’t delay in seeking support through your family doctor.
● Short fuse. Quick temper.
● Extra tired. Want to sleep more than usual.
● Restless. Can’t settle down.
● Not interested in things that you once enjoyed.
● Trouble focusing on things.
What can drivers do?
- Stay in touch with friends and family. Utilize the support of those you care about.
- Talk to your doctor. Just like a pair of prescription glasses can help you see, a prescription for anxiety or depression can help bring back clarity in your mind.
- Travel with a pet. The comfort of a companion can bring peace and happiness, lifting your spirits.
- Be aware of what you are listening to. Focus on uplifting music, stories, or podcasts. Read good books during your detention times and before bed.
- Eat healthy meals. It’s not always easy but when your body has the right fuel it helps your overall health and wellbeing.
- Stay active. After shutting down at the end of the day climb out of the truck, get some fresh air and take a 20-minute walk before settling for the night.
- Get sleep. Good sleep during the night hours is best for your wellbeing.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Canada Suicide Prevention 1-833-456-4566
For a friendly conversation that isn’t specific to your mental health and wellbeing, call the Trucker’s Talk Line at 1-833-883-4388