Mental health is a hot topic in our society and for good reason. The possibility that you know someone who is living with some form of mental illness is extremely likely. In fact, that person may even be you. The first thing our LYNC team wants you to know is that you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Health, more than 1 in 5 US adults is navigating life with mental illness. That equates to over 50 million Americans. May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month, but we feel that this is a topic we should discuss regularly. That’s why we’re dedicating this blog to the subject.
Breaking Down the Data
What causes mental illness? That’s a great question because the answer is that no one knows the true cause. There are, however, a number of contributing factors like chemical imbalances in the brain, traumatic childhood experiences, the use of drugs or alcohol, and feelings of loneliness or isolation. At LYNC, we are privileged to work directly with truck drivers and fleet owners. Living life on the road can be fun. You get to see all kinds of places many people will never visit. However, it is not uncommon for drivers to experience loneliness. In 2012, around 300 male truck drivers participated in a survey focused on mental health. The findings, which can be viewed on the National Library of Medicine’s website, showed that around 28% of the drivers surveyed said they were dealing with loneliness. The survey also found that:
- 27% of drivers said they had issues with depression
- 21% said they dealt with chronic sleep disturbances
- 14.5% said anxiety was a struggle
- 13% said they struggle with other emotional problems
These findings are relevant. Looking at new data that Gallup released earlier this month about depression in the United States, we would put money on the fact that these percentages would be higher if this survey was conducted today. This new data from Gallup shows that 1 in 6 American adults are dealing with depression. It also explains that 17.8% of Americans are currently receiving treatment for depression, which is up from 13.8% in 2020.
How Can LYNC Help
This data really caught our attention and made our team want to help. As a company, we work hard to help eliminate stress for both the carriers and shippers we work with. We also believe that practicing self-care is important for everyone. When it comes to self-care, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, the National Institute of Health put together a list of suggestions for you to try:
- Make Healthy Choices – This includes eating a balanced diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep. We know it can be hard for truck drivers to get a lot of exercise on the road, but even simply getting out and walking for a while can make a big difference.
- Try a Relaxing Activity – This could include using a meditation app, practicing yoga, deep breathing, or working on a crossword puzzle.
- Stay Positive – This can be easier said than done, but having a positive attitude will help you tremendously. Try making a list of things you are grateful for. This activity alone can boost your mood.
- Talk to Loved Ones – FaceTime your friends and family regularly. Having a nice talk with your mom over lunch or with your kids before bed may just be what the doctor ordered.
Medline Plus, which is a resource from the National Library of Medicine, has many other self-care ideas and links to additional resources to help you get started in practicing better self-care. Visit their website to learn more.
REMINDER: Professional Help Is Out There
We would be remiss if we did not remind you that professional help is available. Thanks to technology, you can talk to a professional from anywhere in the world. Telehealth services can be extremely helpful for truck drivers. Also, remember that if you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis or dealing with suicidal thoughts, you can call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat online by visiting 988lifeline.org. Please take advantage of these resources and pass this information along to individuals you know are struggling.
One Last Word
We know this blog has been heavier than normal, but we felt that it was an important subject matter to cover. Remember that your mental health matters. For more information about mental health, you can visit either the CDC’s website or the National Institute of Mental Health’s website.