MENTAL ill-health is a growing problem in our workforces and communities, which is why the Victorian Transport Association has been increasingly supportive of industry efforts to identify potential mental health issues before they become a larger problem. One in five Australians are affected by mental illness – yet many don’t seek help because of the stigma associated with mental ill-health.

“Today we recognise the impact and scale of suicide around the world and the role each of us can play to prevent it,” VTA CEO Peter Anderson said.

“It provides an opportunity to unite, educate and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health by encouraging people to seek the help and support they deserve.”

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Work-related stress and associated mental health problems are a particular concern for the transport industry, where it is well documented that workers are more vulnerable than those in other sectors to mental health problems.

Mental ill-health in the transport industry – particularly among drivers – can arise from the smallest of things, such as travelling and being away from home for extensive periods of time, striving to attain deadlines, disruptions to sleep patterns, anxiety, loneliness and other emotional issues.

The transport industry employs around 666,100 people with a median age of 44 years, accounting for nearly 5.2% of Australia’s workforce, and has increased by nearly 13.9% over the past five years.

“Our industry is rapidly growing, with freight tasks expected to triple by 2050.

“This World Mental Health Day, we encourage operators and employees to look for the early signs of mental in their workplace, irrespective of whether individuals appear to be physically and mentally fit on their exterior.

“Here at the VTA, we have fostered an active People Group with one of the key on-going themes centred around ensuring operational and associated business activities are focused on increasing wellbeing and improving mental health outcomes,” Mr Anderson said.

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