NSW Mining promoting industry action on mental health

March 15, 2014

The NSW mining industry is getting on the front foot in addressing the challenges of mental health that affect the entire community.

Mental health issues affect all sectors, but historically it has been left up to individuals, families and the community to combat these issues with businesses and workplaces having little or no meaningful role.

Today the NSW Minerals Council has released a Blueprint for Mental Health and Wellbeing, providing a high level guide to addressing the mental health and wellbeing of employees in the state’s mining sector. The blueprint was produced by a team of experts at the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Institute of Mental Health and supported by leading resources research institute NIER (Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources) at the University of Newcastle.

“The most important thing that comes out of our mines are our employees. That’s why the NSW mining industry is working towards world’s best practice to address mental health problems,” NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said.

“While research suggests mental health issues in our industry are no more prevalent than in the community more broadly, we recognise that the nature and composition of our workforce means implementing pro-active measures at industry level can make a real impact.

“The Blueprint  released today will provide companies in  the industry with guidance on how to promote being mentally healthy and respond early and effectively to reduce the impact of mental ill-health,” Mr Galilee said.

The new Blueprint has been welcomed by the NSW Mental Health Commissioner. “This is an important issue that needs to be addressed by all industries. It is wonderful to see NSW mining getting on the front foot and taking measures to address these challenges” Commissioner John Feneley said.

“We are serious about tackling mental health in our industry and we’ve already taken steps such as ACARP generously providing $350,000 of research funding to the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Institute of Mental Health,” Mr Galilee said.

“This work forms an important foundation to guide future health programs within the minerals industry, and in a unique partnership between this industry and the University, forms a platform to guide the future work of the University's Mental Health and Mining Program, as a component of its newly announced Centre for Resources Health and Safety at NIER,” University of Newcastle Professor Brian Kelly said.

This Blueprint comes off the back of the 2012 Mental Health and the NSW Minerals Industry Report and a workshop for senior mine safety representatives, health professionals and researchers hosted by the NSW Minerals Council, the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Institute of Mental Health.

Authors: Professor Brian Kelly and Ms Robyn Considine at the School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, together with  Ms Jaelea Skehan at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health.

The Blueprint for Mental Health and Wellbeing can be found at nswmining.com.au/publications

Contact: Chris Rath | crath@nswmining.com.au | 0409 758 734 | 02 9274 1419

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