In mining, many elements of a FIFO worker’s life are affected by the work. Shift work, long hours, job insecurity, lack of work/life balance and loneliness can all put stress into relationships, and strain on your well-being. There is plenty of evidence showing that there is a high rate of depression and suicide in the mining industry, and it, of course, is something that needs to change.

Coming up on September 13th is R U OK? Day, which is a fantastic reason to engage in a conversation about depression and suicide with your friends, family and especially your work colleagues. Another great initiative that has been formed recently is the “Mates in Mining” program, created by The Coal Services Health & Safety Trust. The program aims to help reduce suicide rates and improve mental health across the NSW coal industry.

The simple idea behind the Mates in Mining program is “suicide is everyone’s business.” It’s about mates helping mates. The program provides suicide prevention programs through site-based community development.

It begins with general awareness training, the “Connector” model where workers can volunteer to assist someone in crisis and connect them to a professional who can help. An additional program, ASIST, prepares workers with added skills to support fellow workers in a comparable way a site first aid officer helps.

Rather than providing direct onsite assistance, MIM connects affected workers to suitable services in the area or the industry, which includes drug and alcohol services, family and relationship counselling, financial counselling, and more.

Mates in Mining has also established a national helpline on 1300 642 111. They suggest that if you have a mate in trouble, you offer to do this together.

Connecting the dots between these two great tools (R U OK? and Mates in Mining) for the mining industry is not hard. Leading up to R U OK? Day there should be a shift in culture within the mining industry to combat the issues with depression and suicide. This means everyone should get involved in some way. Whether that means raising the issue in staff meetings, starting a conversation with someone you think may need assistance, or calling the helpline yourself, culture change begins with you, and everyone on your site.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.


R U OK? Day – Thursday 13th September 2018.

MATES in Mining

Helpline 1300 642 111

Are you thinking about suicide?
You are not alone. Help is available.

These services are available to help you now:

Lifeline: call 13 11 14, use online crisis chat or read their website for self-help tools and more information.
Suicide Call Back Service: call 1300 659 467, register for online counselling or read their website for practical tips and information.
Kids Helpline: call  1800 55 1800, use web or email counselling or read their website for info and stories.
MensLine Australia: call 1300 78 99 78, register for online chat counselling or video counselling or read the tools and information.


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