Mental health initiative expands FIFO reach

A Shinema bus project comprising an old Toyota coaster bus and cinema screen is planning to travel through more towns in the Mid West region of Western Australia to reach fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers and other communities.

Geraldton-based filmmaker Ralk Mulks and Chapman Valley Men’s Shed members initiated the project and went for its first outing in late 2019.

They plan to reach more communities in Yalgoo, Mt Magnet and Gascoyne Junction this year.

The initiative comes under the Australian Government’s national suicide prevention trial launched in 2016.

The government selected the Mid West region as one of its 12 trial sites to focus on the Aboriginal community and men aged 25-54, including FIFO workers.

Advisor to the trial, the Black Dog Institute, stated that FIFO workers in the region faced a challenge in putting down roots and making real connections against a backdrop of dwindling population.

Staff from the suicide prevention trial sites noted that a focus on community leadership and response to local needs were important in suicide prevention work, according to the Black Dog Institute.

They also highlighted that the importance in supporting the mental health of the suicide prevention workforce, particularly health professionals, volunteers and remote workforces.

The national suicide prevention trial was also set up in Central Queensland, the Kimberley region of Western Australia and north coast New South Wales.

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