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.
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:
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.
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?
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255); En Español 1-888-628-9454
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 or text to 838255
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746