Truckers with depression find hope and others to listen onlineTruck drivers are one of the top eight occupations likely to commit suicide. A Facebook group has become a place for drivers with depression to get help and find camaraderie.
Veteran driver Michael Suson came home one day and told his wife that a colleague had shot himself dead. The driver had suffered from depression.
Suson, who had been driving for over 25 years knew about truckers and their high incidence of depression – he also suffered its effects – but until about four years ago, he wasn’t willing to discuss it. Like many drivers, he believed that it was unmanly to “give in” to depression. He also believed, mistakenly, that any drugs that might help him, might invalidate his CDL.
Truck drivers are in the top eight occupations likely to commit suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control. They suffer depression in numbers larger than the general public, too, but are reluctant to seek help. Suson’s sister Sherry Dallas, who is older, understands why he and other drivers rarely seek help.
“Admitting that they needed some help, admitting they needed any kind of behavioral health help makes them seem weak,” she says. “My dad along with Michael were verystrong, big men. (Their now-deceased father was also a driver, an alcoholic and probably suffered from depression, she says.) Driving is what they wanted to do, and nothing was going to stop them. However, they were too big to admit that they had a weakness, an issue, a problem, or ask for help. By the time we realized what was going on with my dad it was too late. And I think that Michael losing a couple of close friends is really what helped him come to terms with, ‘Okay, there’s an issue, and I’ve probably got depression, and I need to try to work on myself. But hey, how about the rest of the guys,’ and that’s really what sparked his idea.”
Suson’s idea was to start a Facebook group page devoted to truck drivers, depression and suicide now titled Truckers For Truckers (Fight Against Depression And Suicide). “The page was created to give truckers and their families a platform to communicate within a closed-group environment with people just like themselves facing depression in order to hopefully draw them away from the thought or actions of suicide or bodily harm, to let them know they’re not alone, to be able to vent without judgment and be offered a shoulder. Under no circumstances are there any medical professionals involved nor does the page try to profess any such services. Everyone is just ordinary everyday working-class folks trying to survive this trucking lifestyle,” says Dallas, who is one of the administrators.
Article Courtesy of American Trucker