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Hi, my name is Kate and I am the Director of Beck’s Transport Training, a company I run alongside my husband.
I joined the OzHelp Reference Group because I believe there is not enough recognition of mental health in the transport industry. I want to help raise awareness and encourage everyone to be more aware of the support and services available to them.
I personally suffer from anxiety and stress. It is displayed through my need to be in control and have things done in a certain way. I never really thought about it until I lost both my parents when I was in my 20s. Then the pressures of being a stay at home parent, and now seeing small symptoms in my kids has highlighted the importance of getting help even more.
Prior to meeting my husband, I didn’t have a clue about the road transport industry. Now as a wife of a driver, I am more aware of the pressures on the family as well as the driver. At the time when my husband was driving, it was hard. I knew the importance of him getting a good night’s sleep because he was driving the next day, which meant the responsibility of our young family fell to me. When he worked short haul, I hated rainy days with a passion! If it rained and depending on the contract, it would affect our income. But the highway work came with it’s own stress of night driving on a rotating roster to cart fuel. I would always worry about him getting enough sleep and getting home safely, which wasn’t easy with 4 young children.
When our youngest was a couple of months old, we had the added stress of my husband needing emergency back surgery. After years of driving without the proper seating, without proper exercise, he was told by his surgeon that he had the spine of a 60 year old, he was only 32 at the time. It was scary. We had to find a new career for him, but that wasn’t so easy for someone who loves trucks and it had been his only career as a driver. At the time, the stress and pressure on us as a family was huge. He couldn’t work and at the time, he was our bread winner. Back then we could have used someone to help support us through the hard times, just to have someone to vent to, that understood what was happening would have made the difference.
We are one of the lucky ones, we were able to shift my husband’s experience and what I knew about sales and administration to start our own business. Being a small family owned and operated business does come with its own challenges. But it is a different kind of stress to what it used to be. My anxiety is still there, but I now know how to recognise it and when I need to reach out.