Mental health is a key issue in energy and mining industries, especially when remote work is required. Companies are providing mental health support but, is it enough? Is what you're doing, working?
The mining and energy sector is one of the most at-risk industries in the world for psychological distress and suicide. It is impacting people and organisations physically, psychologically, and financially. Despite the numerous mental health services companies make available, they are under-utilised and not having the impact needed. So, what is the crucial missing LINK?
Research indicates the key factors contributing to poor mental health are
Isolation: from home relationships and peers
Culture: low mental health literacy and high stigma
Stress & Trauma
A study of 1124 employees over 10 mining sites found that relationship problems were the second most contributing factor to psychological stress (after missing special events).
Education, communication and normalisation is key. Mining and energy companies that support at home relationships and integrate mental health education into their daily operations through micro-learning, will lead the industry in reducing the impact of psychological distress on workers.
Team supervisors and motivated team members have been highlighted as being best positioned to influence the most change in mental health education and stigma.
Organisations should also be offering support to workers' relationships at home by providing pre-site education (highlighting the unique relationships stressors of the industry and strategies to help them manage and overcome them), combined with relationship maintenance throughout their career in mining (education and activities to continue strengthening their relationship).
The LINK Project, by PE Health, focuses on the prevention of poor mental health and reducing the stigma that is associated with it. To do this, PE Health joined with psychologists, industry leaders, industry workers, and global health consultants to create the framework of a mental health prevention program that can be tailored for individual company needs. It places strong emphasis on leadership and relationships.
MENTAL HEALTH LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
Upskilling team supervisors (and champion peers) to:
Micro-teach peers to self-identify signs of poor mental health, and a range of healthy coping strategies. Delivered through thought provoking statements and questions to discuss in daily briefing. These statements and questions are designed to help workers self-identify potential failings in their mental health and how they can address it. An easy to follow guide* is provided to team leaders.
Identify ‘at risk’ peers and respond to concerns (on the spot) in a constructive and supportive way.
Elicit team members internal motivation to support their co-workers throughout the shift
Overall influencing a culture where mental health shifts from being stigmatised to normalised.
*LINK Guide includes:
A package of prompting questions to ask the team,
A formula to informally and constructively respond to mental health concerns, and
Supportive resources to display on toilet doors, change rooms and dongas.
The LINK Guide reinforces the micro-learning, builds mental health literacy and reduces the attached stigma in the workforce.
COUPLES PRE-START WORKSHOP
A workshop undertaken by couples before one begins working in the industry. This workshop is designed to be undertaken in person or online. It educates both parties about the unique stressors which remote working can place on relationships. It provides tools and strategies as to how to care for and nurture the relationship so it grows strong and healthy, in the hope it can reduce the stress or prevent the stress from even occurring.
PARTNERS ELSEWHERE ONLINE PROGRAM
This online program focuses on the relationship and continues to strengthen couples communication and resilience. It is self paced and provides educational videos and optional activities and date nights purpose built for couples who are physically separated. Learn More
PARENTS ELSEWHERE ONLINE PROGRAM
This online program offers parents, who are living remotely from their children, an understanding of how to continue to parent as a team, along with opportunities for the away parent to meaningfully connect with their children through fun virtual activities. Learn More
Please contact us if you feel the LINK Project can help you or your organisation. Prices are included in the flyer.
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Part 2- The Cost of Neglected Relationships
Part 3- Where's Your Culture Heading
Since 2001, Workplace Compensation Claims for mental health issues have steadily been increasing by 17%.
- Safe Work Australia-
For every $1 spent on interventions to improve mental health by companies in resource sectors resulted in a $5.70 return.
-Price Cooper Waterhouse-
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australian males between 15 and 44.
78% of remote workers are male between the ages of 24-45.
The resource industry is one of the most physically and psychologically demanding environments to work in.
1 in every 3 remote workers reports "high" or "very high" levels of psychological distress.
- Centre for Transformative Work Design-