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New national collaboration to focus on mental health support

Training material has been adapted to the specific needs of the transport industry to increase relatability and effectiveness.

Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds (HHTS), Steering Healthy Minds (SHM), Toll Group and TrackSAFE Foundation have teamed up to tackle the mental health crisis facing the industry through targeted, early intervention mental health training.

The industry group has partnered with Mental Health First Aid Australia to provide training that reflects the unique and diverse workforce and mental health-related challenges across the expansive industry.

The course includes material adapted to the specific needs of the transport industry to increase relatability and effectiveness.

Transport workers in the transport, logistics and supply chain industry have one of the highest rates of fatality among workers (Safe Work Australia, 2021), and a high incidence of mental health problems (Monash University, 2018).

Kitney MD Jo Kitney, who is a member of the SHM steering committee, explains that there are unique mental health challenges facing the transport industry due to the nature of the work.

“Often, workers are isolated for long periods, exhibit lower physical health and are over exposed to accidents on the roads. As a result, there is a higher incidence of mental stress.

“The demographics seen in the transport industry can also be a compounding factor as the average transport worker is middle aged and male, making them less likely to be open about mental health.”

The industry group hopes to improve transport workers’ lives by reducing the incidence of psychological stress and injury before professional intervention is needed.

Laura Youl, Principal, Strategic Partnership, EML and SHM steering committee member says: “This program has the opportunity to be truly transformational with continued saturation of transport workers trained in Mental Health First Aid. Not only at an individual level but at an organisational level via the peer support model.”

Aurizon, one of the TrackSAFE Foundation’s corporate sponsors, surveyed staff who had completed Mental Health First Aid training, revealing:

  • increased confidence to help someone in need and to start a mental health first aid conversation
  • generated awareness about mental health in the workplace
  • reduced stigma about mental health conversation
  • reported use of new skills and knowledge to assist people with a wide variety of mental health problems and related challenges – including some that are quite complex and serious, such as people in crisis
  • training benefits beyond the workplace, with participants indicating they had also supported family, friends and other people in the community with their newfound skills.

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