Start the conversation and ask ‘R U OK?’

R U OK? Day is a national day of action reminding people that everyday is the day to ask, ‘are you OK?’ and start a meaningful conversation. And many in the industry are banding together to spread this important message.

Today, Thursday September 14, marks R U OK? Day for 2023.

R U OK? is a public health promotion charity that encourages people to stay connected and have conversations that can help others through difficult times in their lives.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is reminding truck drivers and the heavy vehicle industry that asking the question ‘are you OK?’ can make a real impact to those going through a tough time.

It’s about starting a conversation to let the people in our lives know you’re here, to really hear, because a conversation could change a life.

Following R U OK?’s message, NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says it’s important for everyone in the heavy vehicle industry to prioritise their mental health – not just today, but every day.

“Mental health continues to be an important issue for our industry where unique challenges are faced. Tight deadlines, shift work and time away from family and friends are all factors that can contribute to feeling less connected,” he said.

“The heavy vehicle industry is a close-knit community – it’s important for us all to check in on our mates and make them feel supported. There are some fantastic resources available via the R U OK? website that can help you reach out to those around you in a safe and supportive way.”

The OzHelp Foundation was recently granted funding in round 8 of the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative to commence phase three of its ‘Health in Gear’ project. It aims to increase awareness and the ability of truck drivers to action and improve their mental health. This project was part of the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, supported by the Australian Government.

The project includes an on-road presence, online support, access to health information and counselling services. They also have a dedicated helpline to offer free support 24/7 to those in the industry and their families. The helpline contact number is 1800 464 327.

OzHelp Foundation partnerships and engagement director Caz O’Brien said programs like Health in Gear are vital for the wellbeing of the transport industry.

“Nationally, truck drivers represented the second-highest industry group at-risk of suicide, and OzHelp’s Health in Gear program takes the support on the road, directly to locations that are accessible and convenient for drivers,” O’Brien said.

“Times are still tough, and we want to ensure drivers that while the road may be long, you’re never alone.”

Photo: Facebook/South East Queensland Hauliers

Numerous transport organisations are hosting events today as par of R U OK? Day. Among these is South East Queensland Hauliers, which is holding barbeques at two depots for day and night shift workers, with the aim of getting the team together to share a meal and start conversations that matter.

To access R U OK?’s helpful resources, click here.

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