A campaign to improve the mental and physical health of lorry drivers has been launched in the north-east.
NHS Grampian has joined forces with Dyce Carriers Ltd and the Road Haulage Association for its Wellness on Wheels initiative.
Long distances and the solitary nature of the work means drivers’ health can suffer.
Jason Moir, managing director of Dyce Carriers, said he jumped at the chance to support the campaign when he was approached by NHS Grampian.
He said: “It’s something I had been thinking about for a long time, but it was more the physical aspect than the mental side that was getting me.
“It’s not an extremely healthy job. When you’re bored and driving what do you do? You drink and eat.”
Jason said changes to the job in recent years have made it easier for drivers to separate themselves from fellow hauliers.
“Driving is a lonely job. In the old days there was a lot more camaraderie at truck stops and they would all sit down together,” he said.
“Their vehicles are homes now. They’ve got fridges, microwaves and TVs up on the walls of the cabs so they’re not leaving.
“I’m trying my best to get all the other hauliers involved.”
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Susan Webb, director of public health at NHS Grampian, said: “Our workplace team go out and about meeting industries and one of the things we were very aware of was people driving long distances often don’t have the same opportunities to look after their health.
“We identified a couple of things we would like to focus on. One of those was healthy weight and also mental health and wellbeing, as it can be really lonely.
“More and more adults are reporting signs of stress to us. As a country, we are working much longer hours and that has an impact on social wellbeing, like the ability to catch up with friends or spending time with loved ones.”
The public health team at NHS Grampian ran a mental health and wellbeing workshop alongside the Road Haulage Association as part of the programme.
Sharon Cumming, Road Haulage Association area manager, said: “We came along to see what we could add to it and realised it was such a fantastic scheme to get behind.
“I’ve sat in a couple of meetings with the health and wellbeing team and the response has been great.
“It was a no-brainer for us to help facilitate this training so every member and driver in the area could benefit from it.”
Any industry, such as fishing, farming, driving, care and construction, can also get involved.
To do so, contact Julie Phillips on email@example.com