To combat the growing mental health crisis affecting truck drivers and those driving in remote areas, GME has partnered with Rural Outreach Counselling to launch a new initiative for people on the open road to open up about their mental health.
“For truck drivers in remote and regional areas, staying in touch can mean the difference between life and death,” said Tony Crooke, GME Group Marketing Manager. “GME is proud to partner with Rural Outreach Counselling, and our good mate Rod Hannifey to launch ‘Open Road, Open Up’, an initiative that we hope can help change the statistics surrounding truckies’ mental health through the power of a UHF radio.”
As part of the initiative, UHF CB Channel 24 will be used as a free support network for those who need it. By tuning into Channel 24 on a GME radio, truckies will be able to access mental health support delivered by mental health advocates and truck drivers, spearheaded by truckie and road safety advocate, Rod Hannifey.
“I know firsthand how hard it can be out there on the road alone,” said Rod Hannifey, Truck Driver and Mental Health Advocate. “I have seen friends struggle with their mental health because they don’t have the opportunity to open up properly and talk about their feelings. I want truck drivers to know, if you see my truck, tune in. I’m here on Channel 24 to have a chat whenever you feel like talking.”
Recent Government research has uncovered the devastating impacts of the often thankless job of truck driving, showing that mental health issues are among the top three most common medical conditions for truck drivers, with one in two drivers reporting some level of psychological distress.
“We know that staying connected and having open conversations can have a massive benefit in fighting mental health challenges,” said David Post, President, Rural Outreach Counselling. “That’s why one of our main goals at Rural Outreach Counselling is to be able to offer support to those in rural communities who are less likely to speak to GPs or other services.
“Open Road, Open Up is an initiative we are proud to be a part of, allowing truck drivers to get the necessary support in the most Aussie way possible. We are looking forward to our ongoing partnership with Rod and GME to support Truck drivers across Australia.”
The Open Road, Open Up initiative aims to break the stigma of mental health by turning the unavoidable, lonely open road into a place where truckies can open up.
To equip Rod with the counselling strategies to support truckies and those in remote areas, Hannifey has received mental health resources and support through the Rural Outreach Counselling’s MateKeeper Campaign. Rural Outreach Counselling sees firsthand the impact that long working hours, isolation, and time away from family and friends has on truck drivers, as well as others working and living in rural communities.
More trucks will be rolling out across Australia with ‘Open Road, Open Up’ signage over the coming months. GME and ROC will continue to expand the initiative by training more truck drivers to be part of the program.
“Many Australians don’t realise the tough realities of the trucking profession and the impact that it has on a driver’s mental and physical wellbeing,” said Aleesha Gill, Senior MateKeeper Program Coordinator. “We are looking forward to working with GME to break down the mental health stigma we see across rural communities. By educating Rod through our MateKeeper program, we can continue to build a safer mental health space for truckies in rural and remote communities.”