Looking ahead of the mental health and wellbeing landscape of the supply-chain sector in 2024.
In May 2021, Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds (HHTS) delivered an industry-led, industry-specific strategy for improving mental health and wellbeing for road transport, warehousing, and logistics workers – the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Roadmap (the Roadmap).
The Roadmap intends to provide strategic guidance and support for creating psychologically safe and thriving workplaces. The success of this Roadmap now lies not only with HHTS but those who can support its implementation, including industry bodies, large businesses, small and medium enterprises, and owner-operators.
Everyone has a role. We know the industry faces significant challenges relating to mental health and wellbeing, in 2019 employees in the transport, postal, and warehousing sectors were reported as feeling the least connected out of 19 other industries in Australia, according to SuperFriend.
What is even more sobering is an analysis by the Coroners Court of Victoria that showed truck drivers had the highest number of suicides out of any other profession between 2008 and 2014.
To generate genuine change requires shared responsibility and committed collaboration to establish a psychologically safe solution.
The Roadmap itself priorities the risk factors that directly impact the mental health and wellbeing of those in the sector; – Trauma and critical incidents – Long hours, shift work, and fatigue – High job demand – Isolation and social disconnection – Gambling addiction and excessive behaviour – Third-party workforce arrangements – Mental health stigma Through an evidence-based Framework and a set of workplace strategies, the Roadmap aims to address these risk factors, designed specifically to support all people in the road transport, warehousing, and logistics industries.
The Roadmap suggests that a psychologically safe and thriving workplace promotes mental health and wellbeing. It supports those who already experience positive mental health and contributes to stopping or lessening movement along the mental health continuum.
Building a workplace that is psychologically safe and thriving requires a systemic and integrated approach to supporting mental health positively, seeking to create an environment where the mental health and wellbeing of all workers is prioritised and cared for.
In doing so, businesses must move beyond awareness and look to adopt the Framework that sits within the Roadmap – prevention, protection, and support.
This Framework is built around the components of preventing harm, intervening early, and supporting recovery.
Applying this evidence-based approach along with the seven workplace strategies within the Roadmap will support businesses at all levels of the sector to make progress toward creating not only psychologically safe and thriving working environments yet a happier and healthier industry nationwide.
Over the next three years, workplaces across the sector will be at a different stage of psychological safety.
The Roadmap intends to promote improvement from basic maturity to best practice, making sure continuous improvement is occurring. By 2024, three years on from the delivery of the Roadmap, we expect that our industry will have seen a positive change in key risk factors and will be in better positions with the tools to address troubling risk factors that may arise in the future. We aspire to have achieved industry-wide adoption and support of the Framework, making our sector a leader in mentally healthy workplaces.
Ultimately, we hope that mental health is as everyday as physical safety and that stigma relating to mental health is no longer prominent across the vital supply-chain workforce. HHTS encourages all of the industry to get on board the Roadmap, which is freely available via our website.
Naomi Frauenfelder is the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds. Previously, Naomi was Executive Director of the TrackSAFE Foundation- an Australian rail industry not-for-profit, that addresses suicide on the rail network and the resultant trauma caused to train drivers and other frontline staff. It is this experience that Naomi will draw upon and apply to HHTS, to strengthen and grow the organisation and work to improve mental health in the trucking and logistics industry.