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A new frontier in mental health

Published on 05 July 2024

Mineral Resources (MinRes) has become the first resources company in Western Australia to deploy a team of in-house mental health counsellors to its mine sites across the state.

The investment ensures all MinRes employees – including the 7,500 people working fly in, fly out (FIFO) roles – are empowered to talk about mental health and receive support at the earliest opportunity.

A new Mind Matters team features seven highly qualified mental health clinicians, each designated to work at a MinRes-operated site, with a roving counsellor also supporting client sites.

Counsellors work a 4:3 on-site roster and 4:3 roster in Perth to provide convenient and accessible support for members of MinRes’ remote workforce who prefer to meet while away from work.

Each mental health professional is available for individual consults and welfare checks in person or over the phone at their allocated location, while also facilitating education sessions, pre-start presentations and group activities. Counsellors work closely with on-site Health and Wellbeing Advisors, Emergency Services Officers, Medics and Health and Safety Officers.

MinRes’ existing external Employee Assistance Program will continue to provide confidential crisis management, mental health support and counselling as needed.

Mineral Resources Image
Image includes: Head of Mental Health Chris Harris, Mental Health Coordinator Kelly Grey, Mental Health Educator Eimear Boland, Mental Health Administrator Katie Croft, and Mental Health Clinicians Tatiana Lazzari, Rosemary Arnott, Xaviar Ullrich, David Tonkin, Donna-Lee Pasil, Royce Gelmi and Bec Giangiulio.

MinRes Head of Mental Health and psychologist Chris Harris said the new model ensures employees can connect with professionals about their mental health and access support at the earliest opportunity.

“MinRes is committed to supporting our FIFO workforce, helping to tackle the unique challenges they face and reducing the stigma often associated with mental health,” Chris said.

“We consider mental health as important as physical health and have embedded programs that encourage a culture where it is spoken about openly.

“Our industry-first, site-based mental health service ensures everyone at MinRes can easily access personal and consistent mental health support.”

Harris said the Mind Matters team will provide effective, evidence-informed strategies to support prevention, early intervention and recovery for MinRes employees.

“The goal is to empower people to champion their own mental health and physical wellbeing, value the importance of self-care and build capacity and resilience,” he added.

National data indicates 43% of Australians will face mental health issues in their lifetime, but only half will see a psychologist due to a rage of factors including long waiting periods, travel time and high costs. The risk of mental health challenges is even higher across the resource industry’s FIFO workforce.

MinRes General Manager Health and Wellbeing Jon Haines said the company’s new mental health model aims to address these challenges by providing consistent and personal support for its people.

“This new model and influx of expertise is a truly exciting opportunity and will complement the great work already being undertaken at MinRes,” Jon said.

“The expanded mental health team will provide a personal and consistent point of support at each of our sites, working closely with our internal psychological support team to deliver mental health education programs.”

MinRes continues to prioritise enhanced prevention and early intervention programs, and psychosocial and non-clinical support measures, to better support the wellbeing of its workforce and their families.

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