LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A Lawton resident is working to bring awareness to an issue that is not easy to discuss, depression and suicide among truck drivers.
Michael Suson has been a trucker for 22 years and made a Facebook page called "Truckers for Truckers: fight against depression and suicide," back in June, to help bring awareness to this common issue truck drivers face. Since Suson's page was started, they have already been able to help save two people from possibly ending their life as a result of their depression.
Suson says most truckers spend 99 percent of their time on the road alone in their truck, which is smaller than a one bedroom apartment. He says truckers can spend close to 330 days out of the year on the road. When they're alone for that much time, it really takes a toll on them. This facebook page is a way to reach out to other truckers and be able to talk with them about this common issue so many truck drivers deal with.
Michael Suson created the page because he said there are no resources like this for truckers. His stepson Robert Davis was also a truck driver at one time and one of the members on this page. They both say truckers are gone weeks at a time and only have 34 hours to spend back with family on their off days. Davis says he knows what it feels like from both sides, having a stepfather as a trucker, and having been one himself.
"It's a trying process, loved ones being away for so long," Davis said. "Missing out on a lot of things, birthdays, anniversaries, recitals, plays, everything...Christmas. It's not fun. It's really not, and it takes a special kind of someone to drive a truck."
Suson says he's known several truckers who have taken their life as a result of depression, and he made this Facebook page to allow truckers to be able to talk to someone about what they're dealing with. He says he and his page administrators are always available to talk.
"I have 5 other people that's on this page that were willing to talk to anybody in the world," Suson said. "And that's what my main goal is. If I can help one person, which I already have, my goal is complete. If I help a thousand, that's even better."
About a week after the Facebook page had been up, a truck driver posted on the page that he was considering taking his life. Suson said people from all over the country responded to the man, and he was given help that potentially saved his life. Suson says that's what he made this page for.
"I told him, I said 'dude, there ain't nothing in this world worth killing yourself over. I said but you need to talk it out, you need to work it out and I'm always going to be here if you need me to,'" Suson said.
Erin Clark has been a truck driver for 22 years. He says its mind wrecking being in that small of a space for so long and hopes this page brings more awareness to this issue. He has been a victim of depression himself, and wants other truckers to know, that there is help out there like this page.
"Make the call, call anybody," Clark said. "Call your dispatcher, call people on "Truckers for Truckers." Just call anybody, and if they don't want to listen, then don't give up, keep trying. Because somebody's out there that does care, and they will listen."
The page has 221 members so far, and Michael and his family hope to continue to expand "Truckers for Truckers" and create a hotline for truck drivers to call 24/7 for someone to talk to.