Trucking Risk and Insurance Podcast

Truck Driver Burnout, Why Fleets Need To Address Mental Health

April 30, 2021 Chris Harris, The Safety Dawg Season 1 Episode 60
Trucking Risk and Insurance Podcast
Truck Driver Burnout, Why Fleets Need To Address Mental Health
Show Notes Transcript

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Complete information for "The Driving Well Video Course.":

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Hi, it's Chris Safety Dawg, here on this week's episode of Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast. We have Dr. Neely and her ratio kneel together. This married couple runs the Neely counseling center. What the heck are we talking about here on the show this week? Well, it's the two truck driver mental health. And if you stay until the end, you will find out that the Neely's have given you a very special offer that you can take them up on and I would encourage you to do so. That's right. So with that, that's going on with the show And welcome to another interview session on the Dawg on it. Trucking podcast. I'm really excited this week because of the topic we have Dr. Neely from the Neely counseling center and her husband Horacio are joining me this week. And we're talking about truck driver, mental health. Welcome to both of you, Dr. Neely. How are you? I am doing really well. And I'm so excited to have this conversation. Thank you for having me Well, I'm so very thankful that you've joined us. And by the way, I've got to say Dr. Neely, you've got the coolest name for a podcast. Dr. Neely also hosts her own podcast. If you want to listen to it and it's drop the BS podcast. And of course we'll have a link in the show notes below her ratio. Welcome to the show, Antonio. Nice to be here. San Antonio, Texas. What's the weather like you've got to talk about weather. It's a Canadian thing to do. What's the weather like down there? Beautiful High nineties. Well, we'll take a sunny, April sunny, June anytime. Well, there you go. Well, it's not so sunny here today. It's about 60 and spring rain. So not so bad. That's to be expected in the spring, Dr. Neely, I've got to ask you, we're talking about truck driver, mental health. Why of all the professions are all the categories, all the subjects. Why would you choose to focus on truck driver, mental health? Absolutely. I love this question and, you know, to be honest, it happened very, very innocently and organically Horatio. We'll tell you in a little bit that he was working and had worked with truck drivers very closely for about 15 years and his schedule really mimicked a truck driver's schedule, meaning that he was gone, I'd say about 70% of the time. So I was single momming it, you know, taking the keys back and forth, trying to run a practice, trying to keep a marriage together, all of the ups and downs that happen when a spouse is a, at the same time, what was going on with me in my private practice as a therapist is that I was seeing wise and kids and spouses who were like, this is driving me crazy. This person's gone. I feel like when they're home, they may be suffering from depression or anxiety. I don't know how to help them. Cause he's a tough, strong guy and he doesn't want to listen. And so really it was the colliding of these two worlds me from a therapist hat, knowing that there were things going on from a mental health standpoint, but also on the ground experiencing what it felt like to be married to someone in the industry that was gone for that amount. Now her ratio where you a truck driver, Not at all, but I, I operated and functioned like right. All right. So that's what Dr. Neely was referencing when she was telling us about her experience. How did, what were you doing that you were like a truck driver? So essentially I had operational control over and responsibility for rough over 500 drivers support staff. So reasonably, we had 11, 11 origin points. And so my responsibility was over the hiring and just growing and cultivating the businesses that we had at that time. And essentially when you're in a leadership role and you working with truck drivers, you do your best to try to make your, and what you give them in reference child care and support. And so conversely you take on the life of being with him and being at location, being in events and really offering that support real time for drivers as well. Thank you. And yeah, construct drivers. It's, it's a tough, tough life. Dr. Neely, what is your background? What makes you a doctor, I guess what makes you competent to speak to truck drivers about mental health? So my background is that I've worked in the mental health field for about 20 years now. Mental health is my love. I've had a variety of experiences in mental health from working with adults to children. So you name it, just done a lot of different things. I'm a licensed professional counselor, got my doctoral degree from St. Mary's university in San Antonio, Texas. And so of course in that 20 something years, having the privilege of working, like I said before, with spouses and truck drivers, and just, just the personal experiences of having people come to my house drivers for ratios, coworkers, and just being able to talk to them and understand the issues that come up, that a lot of people miss, you know, a lot of times we focus on, on something big and we miss that something small may be at play. Yeah, No, I I'll tell you, as I said in, just before we hit the record button, this is a subject that I really believe the trucking industry, transportation industry have long ignored, and it's just now in the last year or so, or two years starting to come to the forefront. So I'm so thankful that people like you have stepped up and are trying to give a helping hand because it's, you know, I look at road rage for instance, and professional truck drivers. Aren't immune to road rage incidents. It's just something that happens out there. So I'll call it something snaps. That's not a very clinical way of saying it. How would you describe road rage? You know, it's, it's similar to what you said in a way, right? So anytime we don't address what's going on inside of us, maybe we have anger towards, you know, the fight we had earlier that morning with our wife, maybe, you know, dispatch has given us a hard time. And so we have all these, all these things that build and build and build, and then it gets displaced onto the next person that kind of ticks you off. And oftentimes the person who cut you off and the reality is most of the time, it's not about that person that cut you off. It's about the loons that were going on in the background that you didn't deal with the anxiety, maybe the loneliness, maybe the depression, maybe the, you know, maybe using something to stay awake, just to be able to get the food on the table. That's the stuff that really drives it. And like you said, that's the stuff we don't talk about. No, we don't talk about a Horatio. What is it that we should be talking about in this type of thing? So I was highlighting the, relate, the value of creating a relationship with a driver. So we did purposely, we invited eyeline to drivers, to our house annually for a Christmas party. And it gave us an opportunity to not only create the relationship with our drivers, but with their spouses as well. So you can understand the person versus that driver, just feeling like he's just someone he's adds to a moon. A main means to an end at any rate. Part of the biggest gap is really the relationship component that you see in industry as well with the, with the pressure to, to reduce turnover with the pressure, to get drivers in the seats, often drivers are treated like a commodity. And so what we're trying to do with drive well is focused on their relationship component and that they are people and that they have needs as well. Well, they certainly have me, Dr. Neely, do you want to address some of the needs of truck drivers? Yeah, absolutely. I think just like with any industry that needs are, you know, wide, right? So one of the first things I think about is burnout. You know, anytime that you have a job that is extraordinarily demanding, sometimes the pay doesn't go with how much time you're putting in you're away from your family. You're isolated, you have quick food stops. You know, you're not really getting the most nutritious food. So you're going to begin to see kind of several different things start to have play. And first let's talk about the physical side, right? So we know that truck drivers suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure obesity, and these things are slow killers over time. They really start to weigh on you. But if you're in this seditary position, you got to get the job done. When do you have time to exercise? You know, when do you have time to really, you know, live that healthy lifestyle? So we have the physical component first, and then we add in the mental component, you know, you see a lot of things on the road. I know you were a truck driver. You know, sometimes you may see things you can't get out of your head. You know, the trauma of witnessing those things. At the same time, you may have a 12 year old kid who you've missed every ball game. And you know, he's wondering why dad is not there. And you're trying to explain to a kid who may not be able to really understand why you're not present. And, and so there's just some building of emotional stress that can lead to depression. It can lead to anxiety and then let's go into relationship stuff, right. You know, getting a relationship, right. Even when you're not truck driving as hard as hell. And you throw in being gone 60% of the time, you're going to have some issues. So I'm really talking about physical combination and the mental really kind of collapsing together to create the issues that we're talking about today. There's, there's so many issues when it comes to truck driving. And part of it is just, I think some, I know when I was on the road, I used to feel guilty about being on the road a way and not being the support that I wanted to be for my family. If sorry, Hey, how does, how do truck drivers, how can you help them feel more as part of the family? Yeah. You know what, well, I hope first of all, that eventually they get to watch them of our driving well and get to see some of the tools we give them, but it really starts before you hit the road. As I said before, it and me and her ratio can, can spill some tea here because he was gone a lot. You know, it really impacted our kids. You know, my girls were really impacted by the long stretches of time that he was gone. And so we would have to try really hard to get him engaged and get him, you know, to as many opportunities to really spend with them as possible. And just to talk to them that about, you know, I would want to be home. I want to be here and explaining that to them. But the effect is there, you know, racial, you can probably speak to the girls have given you a hard time about, you know, the years you were gone. Yeah. You know, Chris, of course, Dr. Neely creates the dominant narrative in our house around me being gone for a period of time. So yeah, the girls adapted that, but in all seriousness, she hit it on the head, you know, the distance and being away from family, you have to create different scales to stay connected. Of course, with technology, with FaceTime and things of that nature makes it easier. But it can take, it can take a toll on the only the driver, but his family for extended period of times. One of the key things when I hit burnout and Chris, you probably heard this often when you were driving, once the driver gets to the point where they say, Hey, the money doesn't matter. And, and of course drivers are paid well on both sides of the spectrum. Whether in Canada, the U S good parents job, good paying jobs, but they reached a point in their professional driving career that they tell you that, Hey, I don't care about the money. I just want to get my, my, my family back. Or I just want to get my sanity back. Yeah. A lot of them that I talked to just want to be back with family. They, they want to be there and support and be part of it. They, they feel like they're not part of their family Big time Now, Dr. Neely, you, you mentioned it Horatio's referenced it, but the drive, well, video course tell us about the drywall video course that you're offering. Why did you create it and how does it all work? Yeah. So, you know, of course, you know, Horatio and I putting our heads together, him coming from the transportation side and me coming from the mental health side and thinking, well, what could we do? What could we do to make a difference? We know how we struggled. And he wasn't a truck driver, you know, what could we do? So we decided that let's look at the top issues that we believe impact drivers after surveying, talking to drivers, working with other organizations, such as women in trucking, and just really getting that up around, Hey, you know, what really, what drivers need. And so what we did was we developed a video based course. Each video is about seven to 10 minutes long. So really short cause you know, attention spans these days are, are sore. They can be viewed from anywhere at any time. And at the end of the day, they're tool focused, meaning what are some quick tools that I can use right now, right here to help my life be better. And so one of the videos starts off talking about anxiety and the anxiety that many people feel in the United States, 40 million people struggle with anxiety and truck drivers are at the top of that list. So some tools to combat anxiety without taking medication, we address that we address physical health, you know, how do you stay fit when you're in on the road all the time? So we give them real practical solutions to be able to tackle their physical health. And then we go into talking about the relationship stuff. We have a visual on that and all of the ins and outs of managing the relationship with your spouse, as well as the relationship with your kids. We tackle depression, we tackle stress management. And then we rounded out with personal growth because one of the things I've learned from, you know, Disney getting into this industry is that a lot of drivers want to know what happens to me when I can't drive anymore. You know, everybody just wants me to get from point a to B, no one is investing in my personal growth because life, you know, I have to have a life after this job. And so we start talking to them about how to tackle your personal growth. So there's really just several different things. It's quick, it's in and out. You can look at it from anywhere at any time. So it's just a, a little bit, you know, pushing that needle forward for the driver. Yeah. And I've viewed a couple of your episodes or of the teachings and who really valuable her ratio. What would you like to add about the drive? Well, course, You know, I, I think, you know, we'll go back to rolling out anything to drivers and getting them engaged, especially in this day and age one. And Chris, you know, this firsthand, when we moved to electronic logs for, we incorporated cameras into trucks, drivers have been inundated with, I think sometimes complex solutions in reference to how they engage resources. So part of what we tried to do with drywall is give them a nice mobile resource to where they can, they can tap in where they're in the road when they take a 10 hour break or whenever the 34 hour restart is easy and very simple for them to get engaged in the process. Well, and Dr. Neely, you said they're short courses, you said five to seven minutes. Yeah. Seven, seven to 10. So the longest one would be about 10 minutes and, you know, video based, very informative, not the, they're not just looking at a PowerPoint or listening to somebody's voice. They're getting that visual as law, as well as learning. And then, you know, once again, a practical tool to apply right away. Right. And how would somebody find out more about the course? Yeah, Absolutely. I think the best thing to do is to contact her ratio and I I'm sure you'd have a link to us in the show notes, but I can also head on over to Neely and that's our website. They can send an email, just reach out to us. We'd love to just talk more about it and, and share about it. We've been getting a lot of interest in it and people are starting to pilot it. So we're super excited about the program, Her issue. What would you like to add Dr. Nameless summarize it all. I think we're in all the social media platforms. You'll see it in the show notes between LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. We just want to make sure that we're available to anyone that's interested to participate in the program. And it's on a, because I know a little bit about the background of it. It's on a teaching platform so that it is mobile friendly. I know that. And of course you can view it on your laptop or anything as a drivers. Cause you know, the drivers are everywhere in North America. Yes. Yes. What else do you sorry, doctor. No, go ahead. I was going to say, what else do we need to know about the Neely counseling center or about the drive well program? Well, you know, drive well is one of those, it's one of those programs that we've we've incorporated and looking at as an extension of our EAP services, employee assistance program, Pam, and part of what I experienced firsthand working in corporate America on the transportation side, normally EAP services are just a rider policy for insurance programs, for brokers. There's no engagement for drivers and their families when they need EAP services. So we designed a EAP services exclusively for the transportation industry to where we offer live interaction seminars, monthly. We also have engagements around the referral services and of course drive well as a component can be a component of our EAP services as well. Thank you, doctor Dr. Neely, what would you like to add? You know, her, her racial said what I was going to say. You know, sometimes we use these acronyms sometimes EAP. And so what an EAP really is, is an employee assistance program. At the end of the day. It really is. Look, if you have stuff going on at home, if you're worried about your spouse or your kids, you're not going to show up and be able to do well at work. So the EEP steps in and says, you know, let your spouse or let your kids go get the counseling they need, or let me help your wife. Maybe she needs referrals for the nearest sitters in her area or whatever it is, the EAP steps in and provides these services to the, not just to the driver so that everybody can be more functional. So we're super excited that we target transportation. So a lot of the things we roll out are specific for what drivers need. I think a lot of the other EAPs are, are honestly, I think very cookie cutter. They're just, they don't target this population because what drivers need is a little bit different than what maybe somebody who works in a restaurant needs. Absolutely. And there's only what is it? I forget how many millions of truck drivers there are. It's a stat that I should know and I it's escaped me at the moment, but it's awesome. Now, before we wrap up last word, we'll give, we'll go to her ratio first because we'll let the doctor, she's got, you know, it's, it's her business, her ratio, you're working for your wife. So we got to bring her in last. Okay. So Horatio last word. You know, the last word I, you know, I think what I've experienced in what you know, to be true. There's no parody between mental health and physical health. When we talk about transportation over the past, probably five to seven years, of course, you know, we've, we've positioned ourselves legally and from a, from a industry standard perspective to where there's more physical input, where you have to self identify with issues, you got to go back and get recertified annually depending on what's happening. So there's been a lot of focus on the physical health of drivers. When you talk about the mental health for drivers, there's really nothing designed to help get, to get in, get drivers engaged in their mental health. So I think part of what we're doing is taking that first step as far as spotlighting and promoting positive mental health for drivers. Awesome. Dr. Neely. Yes. You know, your mental health matters, right? The stigma out there around mental health sometimes stops us from seeking help. But if we stop and think about it, you know, we go get help for everything. You know, every six months I go get a, a dental checkup. Once a year, I do an annual, you should treat your mental health, the exact same way. It is almost more important than what goes on with other parts of your body. So go get what we like to call it. Couch time, checkup. Not because anything is wrong, but you just want to sit down and process with somebody. You want to be preventative, not reactive, just like you do. You know, we don't wait to get a cavity, right. We go before. So that way the doctor can check you out and make sure you don't get a cavity. And thank you for the, the dental references, because what you don't know is my significant other owns a dental hygiene clinic here in Hamilton. So love the dental references, but you didn't even know that. So that's awesome. I didn't know that exactly. Horatio Dr. Neely, thank you so much for coming on the show. Really enjoyed the conversation and thank you for what you were doing to help truck drivers deal with, I think an ignored subject, their mental health, not just their physical health. So thank you. Both absolutely was a pleasure to be here. Likewise, thank you, Chris. Me, Thanks to Dr. Neely and her ratio of the Neely counseling center. And for you, they've got a special gift by the way, the special gift is you can test drive the one session of anxiety in their drive, well program. And that link is in the show notes below. So I encourage you to check that out, take the seven to 10 minute course on anxiety and see what the Neely's have to offer. And again, thank you so much for coming on the show. I hope you love the show as much as I did, please leave us a, like a thumbs up a review, a comment, a rating. If it is, thank you so much. And I do really appreciate the time and join us again next week for another exciting.