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Combating Depression in the Trucking Industry

Did you know that an estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States have experienced at least one major depressive episode? According to the Healthy Trucking Association In America, approximately 1.5% of the American population suffers from depression. In comparison, 13.6% of truck drivers suffer from some level of depression, a drastic difference from the rest of the population.

What is Depression? 

The American Psychiatric Association describes depression as a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. 

 

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or feeling down or helpless.
  • Loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed.
  • Changes in appetite. This could include weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting.
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue.
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity. This could include: pacing, and inability to sit still. 
  • Feeling worthless or guilty.
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.

What Are the Signs of Depression? 

If you are concerned about a friend or family member, look for some of the warning signs listed above and try to talk to him/her about the situation. Usually the symptoms last more than just a day or two and could last a few weeks or longer depending upon the severity of the episode. 

 

Be sure to realize that there is a difference between grief, such as in the loss of a loved one, and depression. Being sad and grieving is a natural step in the healing process. Just watch carefully to see the level of sadness and whether it is impacting the person enough to have you concerned for their health and safety. 

Where To Get Help for Depression? 

Truck drivers are in a unique situation where they are not regularly home to meet with friends, family, or counselors to get help for their depression. There are some ways to get the help needed even when you are on the road for long stretches at a time. 

 

To get help first try speaking to your primary doctor for psychiatric counseling or medical intervention. Or, in emergency situations you could text for help on a crisis line or contact the Samaritans

 

Need more resources for depression and mental health issues? 

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255); En Español 1-888-628-9454

 

Veterans Crisis Line

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 or text to 838255

 

Disaster Distress Helpline

Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746