MinRes pioneers on-site mental health push

Western Australian miner Mineral Resources (MinRes) has become the first resource company in the Australian state to send out a team of mental health counsellors to its mine sites.

In a model it hopes will set the tone for others in WA, MinRes said the move will offer services to all of its employees, including the 7,500 it has working in fly in, fly out (FIFO) positions. It will also allow them all to receive support at the earliest opportunity.

Its new Mind Matters team features seven highly qualified mental health clinicians, each designated to work at a MinRes-operated site. A roving counselor will also support client sites. 

“Counsellors work a 4:3 on-site roster and 4:3 roster in Perth to provide convenient and accessible support for members of MinRes’ remote workforce who prefer to meet while away from work,” the miner said in its roll-out of the program.  

It added that all of the mental health professionals will be available for individual consults and welfare checks in person or over the phone. They will also organise education sessions, pre-start presentations and group activities. Counsellors will work closely with on-site Health and Wellbeing Advisors, Emergency Services Officers, Medics and Health and Safety Officers. MinRes’ existing external Employee Assistance Program will continue to provide crisis management, mental health support and counselling. 

MinRes head of mental health and psychologist Chris Harris said the new model ensures its workers can connect with professionals and access support. 

“MinRes is committed to supporting our FIFO workforce, helping to tackle the unique challenges they face and reducing the stigma often associated with mental health,” Harris said. “We consider mental health as important as physical health and have embedded programs that encourage a culture where it is spoken about openly.” 

National data indicates 43% of Australians will face mental health issues in their lifetime, but only half will see a psychologist due to a rage of factors including long waiting periods, travel time and high costs. The risk of mental health challenges is even higher across the resource industry’s FIFO workforce. 

Source: mineralresources.com.au

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