Truck driver occupation. Portrait of woman truck driver in casual clothes standing in front of truck vehicles. Transportation service.

People working in the road transport, warehousing and logistics sector face a number of unique psychosocial challenges in their varied workplaces and roles. This is why Healthy Heads is working hard to support the mental health and wellbeing of those on the frontline of the sector.

Creating psychologically safe workplaces is critical to ensuring that people are healthy, productive and engaged. This means considering the impacts of work environments, practices and cultures on mental health, finding ways to reduce negative impacts and build on positive, protective factors.

It is important when considering mental health that we recognise that we are not only talking about those who have a diagnosed mental health condition. Mental health is something we all possess, all of the time, and it is just as important as our physical health.

Wellbeing represents the interaction between our mental and physical health that makes us feel comfortable, healthy and happy. Our mental health moves across a continuum from thriving to unwell, with our exposure to mental health risk factors influencing where we sit over time.

Risk factors may include personal or work-related challenges, events or circumstances, and are commonly described as things that cause us stress. Many risk factors can have cumulative impacts and how people respond can also vary.

The sector’s challenge is to minimise the number of workplace risk factors and to proactively identity and support those who are moving towards unwell on the continuum.

At risk sector

Within the road transport, warehousing and logistic sector there are many inherent aspects of the work which are potential mental health risk factors. These include work environments, schedule pressures, shift work, fatigue and isolation.

The challenges with mental health are demonstrated by a 2021 study which found that 48 per cent of workers in the sector have experienced a mental health condition in the previous 12 months. It is therefore critical to ensure risk factors are managed in a way that enables workplaces to remain psychologically safe.

Healthy heads in trucks & sheds

Healthy Heads is an industry-led non-for-profit foundation that supports the sector to care for the wellbeing of truck drivers, distribution centre and warehouse staff, and other road transport industry members.

Launched in 2020, Healthy Heads’ main focus areas include:

  • Emphasising the importance of supporting mental health and wellbeing to ensure a thriving workforce into tomorrow
  • Providing the industry specific resources needed to support mental health and wellbeing
  • Advocating for and recommending solutions to the mental health and wellbeing challenges within the sector

Healthy Heads collaborates and partners with organisations who support mental health within the sector and across the community – to ensure that specific mental health needs of the road transport, warehousing and logistics sector are met. These collaborations include industry stakeholders as well as expert organisations including Lifeline, R U OK? and Black Dog Institute.

National mental health and wellbeing roadmap

Underpinning Healthy Heads’ approach is the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Roadmap. The Roadmap was produced by Healthy Heads in collaboration with industry, government, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, and mental health professionals.

It provides clear and consistent strategic direction for improving mental health and wellbeing within the sector. The strategy adopts a framework of prevention, protection and support.

Healthy Heads has also developed a range of tailored resources to help individuals and businesses implement the strategic actions described within the Roadmap.

These guidelines, toolkits, engagement materials and training courses recognise that the capacity of any one organisation to respond will vary. To provide the greatest amount of support possible, Healthy Heads provides tailored solutions that suit small, medium and large businesses.

Taking the first step

Building a culture that embraces engagement and considers mental health to be just as important as physical health takes time.

However, taking the first step is the most important. Healthy Heads’ philosophy is to encourage conversations about mental health between employees and management.

This is often more significant for a workplace than many comprehend, as it builds inclusion, demonstrates support, and identifies areas where businesses can improve.

Building capability

As engagement grows, increasing organisational capacity is vital. Healthy Heads has collaborated with some of the nation’s leading mental health training organisations to tailor online and in-person courses specifically for the sector.

These range from general awareness programs to more detailed Mental Health First Aid and Lifeline’s Accidental Counsellor courses.

There are also workshops aimed to help businesses develop their own mental health and wellbeing action plans.

Mental health and wellbeing plans

The aim for the sector is that all businesses develop, with the support of Healthy Heads resources, an organisationspecific mental health action plan that relates to the mental health risks, capacities and resources of their organisation.

Following a period of resource development, Healthy Heads’ goals are now to reach an ever-increasing portion of the industry so that they may put these resources into action.

For industry by industry

Healthy Heads is primarily industry funded through support from our Corporate Partners. It is therefore important that this support continues and grows so that we can reach everyone that needs support.

All Australians rely on the road transport, warehousing and logistics sector for the supply of essential goods and supply chain reliability, so it is critically important that the wellbeing of the individuals who operate within the sector is cared for.

To learn more and find out how Healthy Heads can support your business and employees visit healthyheads.org.au.

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