Mental health and suicide prevention organisation OzHelp will extend its life-saving programs to the transport industry to help vulnerable drivers.
OzHelp will aim to improve the wellbeing of professional drivers and other personnel through mental health support and practical skill programs – a task earlier handled by the Trans-Help Foundation.
"For 15 years, OzHelp has had a strong presence in the construction and mining industries, and over time we have seen increased demand for accessible evidence-based mental health services and suicide prevention education programs in many Australian workplaces," OzHelp CEO Tony Holland says.
Evidence that transport personnel need better mental health support was revealed in an analysis by the Coroners Court of Victoria that showed that truck driving community saw the highest number of suicides of any profession, with 53 drivers taking their own lives between 2008 to 2014.
OzHelp says that equipping people with practical ways to manage challenging life circumstances and understanding their physical and mental health can have significant positive impacts on personal wellbeing and reduce the incidence of suicide.
"We hope that by increasing physical and mental health literacy and encouraging help-seeking behaviours, we are giving employees the resilience to access support for themselves and their colleagues," Holland says.
OzHelp will address the "isolated nature of the transport industry" with programs such as Workplace Tune-Up (WTU).
The online physical and mental health screening tool generates personalised recommendations from support channels including registered nurses and wellbeing coaches.
The program is designed to help employees, while providing employers with a confidential snapshot of the overall health of their workforce to accurately inform, identify and evaluate wellbeing strategies.
"One of the fundamental aspects around our approach is to ensure we do not duplicate services other organisations are providing," Holland says.
"This new direction combines 28 years of experience and skill which will enable us to enhance the impact of services, and tailor them to more Australian industries where mental health support is desperately needed."
Trans-Help says the foundation is pleased to hand over the baton to OzHelp.
"After seeing what OzHelp have provided to other industries, Trans-Help has decided to close their doors and make way for OzHelp to provide their services to the transport industry, taking it to a new level," Trans-Help founder Dianne Carroll says.
"The services and programs they can provide to all of our drivers and their families will continue to improve the mental and physical health of the industry and have the capacity to save more lives."
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