Deep dig for mental health

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Premier and Member for Rockingham Mark McGowan on site in Kwinana.
Camera IconPremier and Member for Rockingham Mark McGowan on site in Kwinana. Credit: Holly Thompson/ Sound Telegraph

A new partnership aimed at addressing the mental health challenges facing workers in WA’s mining sector has kicked off in Kwinana.

Mineral Resources Limited announced a three-year partnership with Lifeline WA at the company’s Kwinana workshop last week.

They will be contributing cash and in-kind support to help Lifeline WA carry out and expand its work, promote Lifeline WA’s telephone crisis support service and help establish mining sector-specific mental health resources.

This includes painting the Lifeline logo and colour on the Blue Crusher, a new piece of mining equipment built in Kwinana.

The Lifeline logo is now displayed on the “Blue Crusher” at the Kwinana site.
Camera IconThe Lifeline logo is now displayed on the “Blue Crusher” at the Kwinana site. Credit: Holly Thompson/ Sound Telegraph

In turn, Lifeline WA will provide training opportunities for MRL so staff have the confidence, willingness and skills to have conversations about mental health at the earliest opportunity.

Mineral Resources managing director Chris Ellison said the COVID-19 pandemic had further exposed the stress of some workers across the WA mining industry.

“Having an organisation like Lifeline WA that is well-funded and able to expand on its vital crisis support service is hugely important not only for MRL but for the entire State,” he said.

“As part of our support of Lifeline WA, and to highlight the importance of talking to one another, MRL has branded its NextGen II crushing plant (the Blue Crusher) in Lifeline WA’s trademark blue.

“The plant, which will be deployed to a Pilbara mine site, will stand 22m tall when fully erected and be a highly visible reminder for everyone to check in on their mental health and also to reach out to workmates to make sure no one is left alone.”

WA Premier and Member for Rockingham Mark McGowan said the aim of the Blue Crusher was to remind everyone on site to keep an eye on their own mental health,and that of friends and colleagues.

Premier and Member for Rockingham Mark McGowan.
Camera IconPremier and Member for Rockingham Mark McGowan. Credit: Holly Thompson/ Sound Telegraph

“The Blue Crusher sounds like some sort of wrestling champion, but it really is all about bringing attention to mental health issues for people working in the mining industry,” he said.

“Mining is a magnificent industry but like everything it does have its issues and people spend a long time away from home working hard and long shifts, often in hot, dry, dusty, difficult conditions.

“It can be an exhausting role and this can bring mental health issues with it; especially in the fly-in, fly-out industry.

“Having support mechanisms is very important, so many have known people who have taken their own lives, it is tragic and terrible for the families, they don’t recover from that so preventing this outcome is very important.”

Lifeline WA chief executive officer Lorna MacGregor said she had heard how important it was to feel supported and support others while away from family first-hand.

Lifeline WA chief executive officer Lorna MacGregor.
Camera IconLifeline WA chief executive officer Lorna MacGregor. Credit: Holly Thompson/ Sound Telegraph

“We are grateful to Mineral Resources for acknowledging this need and for making mental health and suicide prevention a priority. We don't want our fellow Western Australians to suffer in silence,” she said.

“I hope that the highly visible 13 11 14 number on the Mineral Resources NextGen II crusher encourages any person who is contemplating suicide, experiencing emotional distress or caring for someone in crisis to call us on 13 11 14.”

The number for Lifeline will be displayed across mining sites.
Camera IconThe number for Lifeline will be displayed across mining sites. Credit: Holly Thompson/ Sound Telegraph

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