Crown Towers and Crown Riverwalk illuminated blue for the Victorian Police. Picture Fiona Hamilton
Crown Towers and Crown Riverwalk illuminated blue for the Victorian Police. Picture Fiona Hamilton

Hearts break after tragedy

IN THE aftermath of the tragic death of the four police officers on the Eastern Freeway in Victoria, my heart is breaking for them and everyone involved – the driver, the trucking company, the emergency workers and the entire police community.

The tragic events have such a ripple effect that goes on and on.

The devastating reality is, the community was already grappling with so many issues from COVID-19 and this will exacerbate the effect on the mental health of everyone touched by this horrific accident.

It may seem like I am always writing about mental health in this column, but it is something that needs to be spoken about openly and honestly.

Our industry is tough enough and as freight is slowing down and our drivers will come under more pressure because of this as they are often held up over night away from home, we need to be aware of the signs they may need some help and understanding.

Now, just when we were getting positive press for the important work during the craziness of the coronavirus, a horrible tragedy has occurred.

The press coverage in the early stages has been devoid of the hysteria normally aimed at a truck crash and this is possibly due to the disbelief and heartbreak everyone is feeling.

We have lots of experts offering advice on how to manage our mental health and while I don’t take anything away from their expertise, the support of family, friends and mates is so important.

Within the trucking industry it is often only others in the industry who understand the rigours of what you are going through.

Friends outside the industry rarely understand what truckdrivers cope with daily, the last couple of months have been stressful and the next few weeks will bring mounting pressure.

This will not only be due to the reaction of recent events but to the slowdown of the economy until we get back to work and no one can predict when that might be.

So, as an industry let’s take care of each other by reaching out, talking to your mates, other drivers, your ops personnel (if you like them) whether this is over the phone or on the UHF, it is better than a text message or social media.

Nothing like having a whinge, a laugh and a good old natter with a good mate to set the world and the industry to rights and make you feel so much better.

Sometimes it is just a case of hanging crap on each other, but hey whatever works.

I have been into the abyss caused by depression, so I now appreciate how much Mates Matter.

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