A Word from Our President: Cultural Issues

Green truck

Forgive me as I stray from my normal format to bring awareness to an ever-growing issue in our culture. Over my years of serving in the church, I have rarely heard teaching that discussed a biblical perspective to help me make sense of my mental health journey. Instead, I have heard teachers explain that depression is due to sin or anxiety caused by unforgiveness. That is why among other things, I decided to become a mental health instructor and coach.

The reality is that we often don’t differentiate between weakness and wickedness. As a result, Christians see issues like depression or anxiety, which are caused by issues more complicated than personal wrongdoing, as products solely of sin. This is why many of us often ask ourselves, “What’s wrong with me?”, rather than, “What do I need?”. We are looking for blame when we just need to be cared for by ourselves and others.

So how can the church help its members, especially the men, to learn to embrace our humanity, so that we can speak openly about our weaknesses in a healthy and unashamed way? First, we as a church need to stop ignoring that it exists within the church. Secondly, the church needs to train people to be mental health coaches who can help deal with these types of issues and stop handing out referral lists that most people ignore. There are groups for just about everything that exist in the churches today but not for the care of people struggling with various kinds of mental health issues, especially in men. You only must look around you to see the mental health crisis we are in and in my opinion and many others, the church should be the first bastion of help for the believer. Encourage your church to take the first step in meeting this need!

The same holds true for the trucking industry. Truck drivers once ranked among America’s unsung heroes. The pandemic put the men and women who deliver the goods and materials that keep communities afloat in the spotlight, but little attention was paid to the stress, anxiety, and conditions that chip away at truckers’ mental health.

The shuttering of rest areas, bathrooms, motels, and other truck driving infrastructure during the pandemic raised alarms about excessive hardships faced by CDL professionals. But, long after the U.S. economy reopened, truckers continue to do an essential job that justifies far greater attention to mental health and wellness.

Professional truck drivers work in stressful conditions that favor unhealthy lifestyles and medical disorders. Their overall health and especially their mental health, is very often worse than the general population because of long driving shifts, disrupted sleep patterns, chronic fatigue, social isolation, compelling service duties, delivery urgency, job strain, low rewards, and unsystematic medical control. Trucker issues must remain in the national conversation, and drivers should get the support they deserve.

Chaplains provide care and biblical counseling for those who cannot bear their burdens alone and who need a trusted and objective friend and confidant. Very few companies realize the transformation a chaplaincy program can bring to their company. Where can you find a chaplaincy program specifically designed for the trucking community? TFC Global Corporate Chaplains Network provides that kind of program.

Professional truck drivers made a Herculean effort to keep America’s food supply chains open and deliver essential products during the time of the pandemic. Truckers are no longer unsung heroes, and our valued women and men of the road deserve quality care and improved conditions.

As men, whether you’re a professional driver or not, it can be tough to ask for help from our brothers, but there’s no shame in it. Everybody needs someone they can turn to, especially in tough times, and as Christians, we’re called to carry one another through difficulties.