The plight of two truckers — father and son — who died by suicide within 24 hours of each other has rocked the trucking community and is highlighting the toll that trucking can take on a driver’s mental health.
This week, 26 year old Andres Urgelles and his father, also named Andres Urgelles, both passed away from suicide within one day of each other. Urgelles Sr. reportedly committed suicide at an Alabama truck stop after learning that Urgelles Jr. had killed himself at his home the day before.
The younger Urgelles was a popular figure on Instagram and was well known in the trucking community in Florida, so the news left many of his fellow drivers shocked, confused, and saddened.
YouTuber Ms DivaTrucker Driver Trainer CDL Recruiter shared a tribute video about the Urgelles family tragedy.
In the the wake of the death of the Urgelles men, many members of the trucking community are raising the call for increased suicide awareness and prevention.
Trucking can take an immense toll on a driver’s mental health. Drivers are often isolated, under extraordinary pressure, and not well-treated by the people that they encounter at shippers and at truck stops. Truckers bear the weight of the heavy responsibility of highway safety and can experience extreme guilt and grief if they do become involved in a crash where someone gets hurt — even if it isn’t their fault.
If anything positive can come out of this tragedy, let it be that we resolve to be kind to one another. Let’s take the time to check in on our friends. Smile at a fellow driver. Promise to tell someone if you’re not okay today.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you’re feeling down, therapy is an invaluable mental health tool. For OTR drivers, traditional appointments can be tough, but services like Talkspace give you easy access to mental health service on your phone, no matter where you are.