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Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

Case study:

Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds

Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds is a not‑for‑profit charitable foundation that promotes the prevention and understanding of mental health issues for workers across the road transport, warehousing and logistics industry. Woolworths Group, Coles, Linfox, Toll, Qube, Ron Finemore Transport and Australia Post have all combined as corporate partners of the foundation with support from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the Federal Government.

Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds launched in August 2020 as the first single national approach to tackle issues related to mental health and wellbeing in the industry as a whole. Mr Chris Wilks, Group Manager, Safety, Health & Wellbeing at Linfox said the strategy is informed by consultation and research identifying critical mental health issues affecting the industry.

Linfox commissioned a study from Monash University in collaboration with the Transport Workers Union; it was a collaborative approach to understand the health concerns of our drivers in the transport industry. There is evidence that professional drivers face significant challenges, and we co‑funded this study to help us address these challenges. We’ve been able to draw on deep insights from the research findings to build and strengthen a program for our business and industry to ensure that we’re targeting the areas of concern, and supporting our drivers to be safer.

Mr Wilks explained Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds is built on three main areas: increasing the number of people trained in mental health at road transport facilities nationally; standardising policies and processes across transport and logistics industries to de‑stress the environment for drivers; and focusing on individual mental health and improved wellness through education and resources around factors such as diet and exercise.

Setting up a support network using trained mental health practitioners who have hands on experience in the industry is a really important step. We hope that building trust through a peer to peer approach will lead to drivers feeling more comfortable to talk openly about the real issues that they encounter every day.

Participation of smaller operators is funded by the larger founding industry members so everyone in the industry benefits.

Source: RCVMHS, Interview with Chris Wilks and Marian Merrigan, November 2020; Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds [accessed 26 November 2020].