ST. MARYS, Ont. — A mental health professional with a family background in trucking has set up a mental wellness, coaching and support service specifically for professional drivers and their families.
OTR Wellness was set up to “fill the gaps that exist with regard to existing employee assistance programs,” says company founder Melanie Shiell, president of the new venture.
“Faced with constant time pressures, social isolation and hazardous road conditions, commercial drivers are at increased risk of social, psychiatric and psychological problems,” Shiell says. “Compounding these issues is the fact that access to mental wellness resources remains limited for drivers while on the road.”
Shiell says statistics show drivers who are suffering from depressive episodes are six times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle collision, yet she acknowledged “commercial drivers faced with mental health challenges have limited ability to appropriately respond to every day stressors of life on the road.”
OTR Wellness offers drivers and their families access to mental wellness education and other services. Services include: mental wellness coaching and support sessions, mental wellness workshops for companies and staff, mental wellness program design and implementation for companies and wellness coaching sessions with drivers via phone, Skype, e-mail or text.
Shiell has a background in sociology, conflict resolution and crisis counseling and has spent 16 years working within communities with people at risk. Her father was a commercial driver and her husband is a transportation professional.
“In the absence or presence of a disorder, OTR is there to listen, empower and encourage,” she says. “Finally, support from an individual who has been there and understands the trucking industry.”
For more info, check out OTR’s Web site at www.otrwellness.net or call 519-301-9645.