Careers and crisis: How behavioral health is shaking the transportation industry

Every time we get into a plane, train, bus or car, someone’s driving. The person who’s helping you visit your family or get to your next appointment might have an extremely demanding job and may be under high stress.

More than 25 percent of long-haul truckers surveyed in a study sponsored by Informa Healthcare suffered from depression. The same research suggests that drug misuse often serves to combat fatigue and help truckers meet their delivery deadlines.

Fifty-seven percent  of train operators say they rarely or never have a good night’s sleep. Perhaps even more telling, 18 percent say that drowsiness has led to a “near-miss” accident. Pilot, bus, taxi, and limousine drivers report suffering from similar levels of sleep deprivation.

Harvard Medical School found that people with insomnia were five times more likely to develop depression.  In addition, this  lack of sleep may result in these individuals being at an even greater risk factor for anxiety.  In the same study, people with insomnia were twenty times more likely to have a panic disorder (a type of anxiety disorder).

Stress and the demands of the job

The high-stress demands on those that work in transportation include long hours, little control over schedules, disrupted sleep patterns, potentially traumatic accidents, and extended periods away from home and family—all of which, can put workers at high risk for behavioral health problems.

Overlooking behavioral health challenges in the transportation industry threatens the health and wellbeing of employees, their colleagues, and their families. Further, in this industry, public safety is an additional concern. Despite the risks, more attention can–and should–be paid to tackling behavioral health issues in the transportation workforce.

Consider the fact that train operators are expected to witness up to three potentially traumatic experiences during their careers. According to Newsweek, this can lead to higher levels of post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression. Transportation employers have employee behavioral health at the top of their minds.

Help your employees access behavioral healthcare when they need it

Castlight can help address behavioral health challenges in the transportation industry in several ways. Specifically, Castlight can integrate with sleep improvement programs so that your employees can easily educate themselves. Additionally, Castlight can help make employees more aware of their sleep deprivation, and showcase the many resources and options available. Decreasing the amount of sleepless nights your employees have, will ultimately increase presenteeism and productivity.

To address total health and well being, Castlight Elevate can help identify at-risk employees, provide them with the information they need to make educated behavioral health treatment choices, and commence care instantly—while strictly following federal healthcare privacy rules.

Intrigued? Learn more about how you can help address behavioral health issues in your organization and check out our recent webinar — The Behavioral Healthcare Crisis: Improving Employee Access and Outcomes.