Gerard* was only in the trucking game for five years when he started to notice a change in himself.Key points: Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for truck drivers aged under 39 Many drivers report feeling unable to express mental health concerns Researcher Elizabeth Prichard says the impact of the industry on drivers is “larger than we ever anticipated”
Working 16-hour days, weighing 142 kilograms and in the grip of his second divorce, the truck driver said his mental health had never been so bad.
He said, “broken marriages, a shit life on the road and never being home for years on end”, led him to spiral.
When he attempted to talk through his struggles with colleagues, he was told to shut up and “grow some balls”.
“It’s a real manly, man industry. You can’t show your weaknesses,” he said.
Gerard works for one of Australia’s major transport companies but like many drivers, he chose to remain anonymous fearing he could lose his job for speaking out about his mental health.
“Do you know how many hours I spent crying in my f***ing truck? Like for years on end.
“Do you know how much I’ve missed out on my kids? I missed them growing up. I was never there.”
Truck drivers are the operational backbone of Australia — delivering essential supplies across enormous distances to often isolated locations.
But the sector is facing a crisis.…