AMSJ » Mental health a priority for new mine inspector

Mental health a priority for new mine inspector

Amy Douglas-Martens WA Department Mines
Amy Douglas-Martens WA Department Mines

Mental health and wellbeing will be high on the agenda for the latest mine inspector at Western Australia’s Department of Mines and Petroleum.

Amy Douglas-Martens (pictured right) was recently appointed as the department’s first mental health and wellbeing inspector of mines.

As a registered psychologist, Douglas-Martens will join the mines inspectorate team and help develop safety and health protocols, designed to protect mental health and wellbeing plus physical safety.

“I am excited about joining the inspection team and determining how we can work together, and with industry, to improve mental health and wellbeing across the resources sector,” Douglas-Martens says.

“There will definitely be challenges, but I am optimistic about the progress that is currently underway and feel privileged to be a part of it. Our long-term goal is not only to give operators and their employees the necessary tools to manage mental health and the associated risks, but also to increase their confidence in putting the tools into action.”

Douglas-Martens says saturation of information makes it difficult for operators to apply lessons learnt to their health and safety plans.

“One requirement is to make this information more accessible for the people who are developing workplace health and safety plans and support in deciding where to begin,” Douglas-Martens says.

“While our focus is on the mining and extractive resources industries directly, any good work that we do in this area, represents a real opportunity to impact positively on the mental health and lives of the broader WA community as well.”

Meanwhile, with Tyler van der Merwe (pictured centre), who specialises in mental health and wellbeing, joined the department at the beginning of 2017 as one of the department’s new graduate officers.

“I have been given an opportunity to pursue my passion and turn it into a career,” van der Merwe says.

Currently working with the resources safety division, van der Merwe says stigma appears to still be the number one barrier to people seeking help, and she looks forward to influencing change.

“As a graduate, it is exciting to be working for the department during a period of change, there is lots of work happening behind the scenes to consolidate the information that is available to operators,” she says.

State mining engineer and director mines safety Andrew Chaplyn (pictured left) praises the new recruits as important additions to the resources safety team.

“Amy and Tyler add significant capacity to resources safety to help us identify and address issues associated with mental health and wellbeing in the sector,” he says.

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