Mental health study underway for remote workers

THE University of Canberra and the Australasian Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health are teaming up to look at the mental health and emotional wellbeing of employees in mining, resources and remote construction.
Mental health study underway for remote workers Mental health study underway for remote workers Mental health study underway for remote workers Mental health study underway for remote workers Mental health study underway for remote workers

A poster used on the mines to encourage people to address mental health issues.

Hannah Vickers

Companies and employees have historically been reluctant to share sensitive information, leading to a lack of useful and reliable research regarding the mental health of remote workers in the mining and resources sector.

ACRRMH chief executive officer Dr Jennifer Bowers said the group’s lifestyle and wellbeing survey could be used to gather information on mental health to help establish a benchmark going forward.

Bowers said collaborating with the University of Canberra brought added strength and credibility to the findings and the school was chosen for a reason.

“They have special skills in psychiatric epidemiology and analysing complex data,” she told MiningNews.net.

“Professor Helen Berry really is one of the few people that absolutely understand the issues about being disconnected from families and the issues of isolation.

“It’s not only knowledge but statistical skill and understanding of the issue when interpreting the data that’s important as well.”

ACRRMH hopes to expand the survey to allow for a greater comparison between sites, companies and even states in the future.

Given the turnover rate at mine and construction sites, the aim of the study is to help companies create preventative processes to ensure the health and wellbeing of future employees as well.

“We’re not speaking to the same people on each visit,” Bowers said.

“There is a churn and that’s why companies really do need to look at preventative strategies and keep them up because the whole idea is to change culture, change attitudes and raise awareness and put in a preventive strategy.”

The first company to participate in the research is reviewing the data, with Bowers saying she expects the information to be publicly released in the near future.

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