Roy Hill, MinRes and more get behind mental health initiative

Mining and resources workers will be better equipped to help colleagues navigate mental health challenges with the launch of the Resourceful Mind program.

A partnership between the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA and Lifeline WA, the program aims at providing targeted peer support with the understanding that many remote operations in WA function as their own “communities”.

A six-month pilot program is currently being undertaken by CME member companies Roy Hill, Mineral Resources, Simcoa and Woodside, and its early success means a broader rollout across the WA mining and resources sector is likely in 2022.

The program is delivered virtually by Lifeline WA’s trained crisis supporters while workers are on site.

CME safety, health and wellbeing manager Elysha Millard said the health and safety of all mining and resources workers – including their mental health – was the number-one priority for the sector.

“CME and its member companies have long been focused on ensuring good mental health outcomes for workers but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that focus has been further sharpened,” Millard said.

“The impact of the pandemic has seen many of those workers perform longer swings on site and spend longer periods away from family than they normally would.

“Resourceful Mind recognises the ‘communities’ that form at operations, and the fact those sites generally have go-to people who are sought out by their colleagues for a chat about challenges they might be facing or to provide emotional support.

“Resourceful Mind aims to take those ‘go-to-people’ – or Minders as they called in the program – and provide them with the training they need to better navigate those conversations, supply the support their colleagues need and also steer them in the direction of additional help as required.”

Lifeline WA chief executive Lorna MacGregor said the program had been designed specifically for workers in the WA resources sector.

“The resources sector, led by CME and its members, worked collaboratively with Lifeline WA to ensure the program was appropriate for the sector and the people who work in their sector,” MacGregor said.

“It was a very positive experience for the team at Lifeline WA; we had to learn and adapt.  We are so proud of the program and the positive impact it will make in resources communities.

“We understand many people aren’t comfortable talking about the challenges in their lives, or with their mental health, and we know from experience that men are less likely to ask for help.

“However, we believe workers in the resources sector may be more likely to open up to colleagues identified through the program as natural listeners, who have been trained to have difficult conversations and to support finding appropriate help.

“The program modules are delivered by our highly trained telephone crisis supporters who have extensive experience in supporting people through crisis.”

MacGregor said support for the Minders themselves would continue after they had completed the training.

“An essential part of this program is that our Minders will also receive support during monthly coaching and wellbeing sessions to ensure their own mental health is being looked after while they’re supporting others,” she said.

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