ATA prioritises mental health
MORE on-road information and counselling at roadhouses, online training programs, healthier food options, exercise equipment and collaboration on existing company IP.
They were just a few of the well-received ideas to come out of a productive Call To Action: Mental Health and Wellbeing session at the Trucking Australia conference in Perth earlier this month.
Newly re-elected ATA chair Geoff Crouch, who pulled double-duty as session director, also went to great lengths to reassure delegates he'd be doing everything in his power to ensure follow-through on their suggestions.
"Make no mistake about what we are doing here today,” said Mr Crouch to the packed room overflowing with industry heavyweights.
"The ATA isn't going to take these suggestions and file them in the back of the draw, and think 'OK, we've ticked a box and done this'.
"That's bullshit. The whole idea of having this session is that we get out there and do something.”
Bettina Lentini, head of communications for supply chain and IT at Woolworths, laid the groundwork for discussion by sharing the massive inroads her company is mental health awareness and education.
She said Woolworths was focused on three core areas: 1) An internal online 20-minute 'I am here' program which educates team members on how to spot signs and how to help if they do
2) A supply-chain engage- ment program which includes a 90-minute mental health module highlighting awareness of above and below the line mental health states
3) The industry-backed Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds initiative, a collaborative program aiming to create the best possible environment for drivers in DCs
Trucking advocate Rod Hannifey, who is best known for his better rest area campaigning, said there needed to be more information displayed for drivers on who to turn to for help while they were out on the road.
"We all know men don't go to the doctor and sit back and won't seek help but a lot of blokes get to that point where there is nobody to talk to,” he said.
"We spend all our life alone in the trucks and disconnected to the community in a lot of ways.”
Dr Sarah Jones, general manager road transport safety and compliance at Toll Group, also took the floor to stress the importance of not "reinventing the wheel”.
"This is an industry issue and I think we're stronger if we share our IP,” she said.
"On that note Toll has a formal partnership with TrackSAFE. They have done so much work in this area and have a really well credentialed resilience and occupational hazard program they developed in conjunction with Deakin University.
"We now have access to that material and we are adapting it for a road transport environment. I'll undertake to go back to my organisation and ask, can we share that more broadly because I think that would be of benefit to everybody.”
If you or someone you know is in need of support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 46 36 or MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78.