To tell it like it is, depression is a form of mental illness. Studies show that truck drivers are more likely to be affected by it than the general populations of both Canada and the United States.
Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, an estimated 5% of the world’s population suffer from depression. More women are affected by depression than men. But men are way less likely to report it or seek help about it. Depression can lead to suicide. There is an effective treatment for mild, moderate and severe depression.
Not surprisingly, 13.6% of U.S. and Canadian truck drivers suffer from depression. Demands of the job include high stress due to factors such as concern about meeting deadlines, delays due to traffic, weather conditions, detention at pickup or delivery sites which eat up a driver’s time, and much more. The effect of being apart from loved ones for long periods while on the road and enjoying only short times at home strain relationships and eat away at a driver’s mind. Poor sleep habits can also lead to depression in truck drivers. Overthinking things while on the road or at home can affect a driver’s mood and last a long time.
We know what you’re thinking: we’re truck drivers, and we’re macho. So macho that we can sweep this depression thing under the rug and never think about it again. That may be the worst decision of your life. Suicide can be lurking in your near future. How macho is a dead truck driver? A cross sectional study of long haul truckers conducted by the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan revealed that 44% of drivers admitted they had reported symptoms of depression. These are the real macho drivers. They’re not afraid of taking a giant step toward wellness by asking for help.
A Quick temper that may or may not become a confrontation, unending fatigue and always wanting a break to rest, loss of interest in your previously favourite things, anxiety, nervousness and uneasiness as well as the inability to maintain a focal point on a known topic are all common signs of mild depression. If any of these signs ring true to you, please consider reaching out to some of the resources below this article to get help. There’s no shame in that and getting help for yourself is the strongest and bravest thing you can do. Remember that truck driving is listed as one of the most dangerous professions in both the U.S. and Canada. You’re doing a very important service to the world but you also need to do yourself the kindness and service of checking in and maintaining your mental and physical health too!
If you’re a Canadian driver and want to discuss your symptoms with a medical professional, go to Wellness Together Canada. It even works if you are across the border and could save your life. Truck driving can be an enjoyable life if you’re in a healthy frame of mind. Get feeling right and enjoy the ride for a change. Make money and prosper.
If you’re an American truck driver in need of help with feelings of depression, we urge you to reach out to your company for help. You can visit the National Institute of Mental Health website for a list of helpful resources. If you’re in the UK you can visit the Mental Health Foundation website. If you’re looking for online therapy, we suggest contacting BetterHelp (not a sponsor) to connect with an online therapist.
Whatever is affecting you negatively, we urge you to reach out for help. It could save your career or your life. We want you to be healthy and loving your job again. It’s time to give a truck. Motor on, friends!