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New Acland Mine and Lifeline team up to take on mental health and wellbeing

New Acland mine
Lifeline Darling Downs CEO Derek Tuffield presents to New Acland Mine's G crew.

A joint effort by New Hope Group’s New Acland Mine and Lifeline Darling Downs has raised much needed funds to tackle mental health issues.

During the first three weeks of November, Lifeline Darling Downs CEO Derek Tuffield OAM met with New Acland crews for pre-shift fundraiser barbeques and presentations on the importance of mental health and wellbeing awareness.

By the end of the month the joint effort had raised $5807 – enough to fund at least seven safeTALK workshops for the community.

Mr Tuffield said the safeTALK workshops are designed to help equip participants with the skills to recognise an individual who may be having thoughts of suicide and how to assist them to get help.

“Lifeline has worked with communities around New Acland Mine for many years and we knew of the site’s proactive mental health wellbeing initiatives, but this was the first opportunity I’ve had to work directly with management and the staff,” Mr Tuffield said.

“Over the past 20 years Lifeline has maintained a presence in the Oakey community and, given recent challenges the community has faced, the running of free safeTalk workshops during 2019 should be a wonderful tool to help further strengthen the Oakey community.

“Over the coming 12 months, the free safeTALK workshops made possible through New Acland’s fundraising will help train people on how to engage with at risk individuals and connect them with life-affirming resources.”

safeTALK workshops are suitable for anyone above the age of 15 and are facilitated by a qualified trainer who has completed an internationally recognised safeTALK course.

“When on-site, I found the crews engaged positively with me whether I was talking about my lived experiences at Lifeline or explaining processes we had developed to help people,” Mr Tuffield said.

“Their thirst for knowledge was evidenced by the fact I regularly ran out of brochures and other material I took with me.”

New Acland Health and Safety Coordinator, Bella Reynolds said Mr Tuffield’s repeated visits reinforced many of the mental health and wellbeing efforts underway at the mine.

“Lifeline Darling Downs is a leader in mental health and wellbeing awareness and education,” Bella said.

“Derek has over 30 years of experience with mental health awareness in the region, so it’s great to have that knowledge supporting our employees and efforts.

“With many of our New Acland operators being local farmers, the recent drought has demonstrated to us why mental health and wellbeing awareness is so important. These safeTALK workshops will be invaluable in helping us pick up subtle changes in our workforce’s behaviour and offer assistance”, Ms Reynolds said.

“We are committed to supporting mental health and wellbeing awareness in the wider community and we are excited that the 2019 safeTALK workshops will help facilitate this”, Ms Reynolds said.

If you or anyone you know needs help crisis support services can be reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline on 13 11 14; Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800; MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978

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