Aussie researchers develop app to aid taxi driver mental health

By Xinhua

Australian researchers have developed a mobile application to monitor and improve the mental health of taxi drivers.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne developed the app after research discovered that taxi drivers were among the most stressed people in the workplace.

The research found that two in three taxi drivers reported high levels of psychological distress due to long working hours and the prospect of being assaulted by passengers.

Flickr / Jim Pennucci / MANILA BULLETIN Flickr / Jim Pennucci / MANILA BULLETIN

Nearly a third of drivers surveyed rated their physical health as poor, twice the average for Australian men.

"We're all used to messages about cutting the road toll, but there's another road toll that is unique to taxi drivers -- the mental and physical health hazards they face on the job," Sandra Davidson from the University of Melbourne's Department of General Practice said in a media release on Thursday.

"Taxi drivers are mostly male, shift workers, recently arrived in Australia, and either too time poor or reluctant to seek help," Dr. Davidson said.

"The biggest challenge is enabling taxi drivers themselves to make small but important changes to their routines, given that they have lots of 'dead' time that they can't do much with, because they have to get their next fare."

Davidson said the idea for the app came from survey findings that taxi drivers were spending large amounts of time on their smartphones but were unlikely to seek mental health help.