BHP Billiton and beyondblue embark on mental health roadshow in the Pilbara

BHP Billiton has partnered with beyondblue to provide thousands of Pilbara employees with mental health resources as part of a special roadshow.

The beyondblue Pilbara roadshow will start at BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s Port Hedland operations this week before travelling to all five of its mine sites, employee accommodation and townships of Port Hedland and Newman over 10 days.

The roadshow will raise awareness of mental health issues and provide support services to employees and community members.

BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Vice President of Health, Safety and Environment, Brett Swayn, said he was pleased to offer employees the opportunity to connect directly with beyondblue personnel and resources.

“The beyondblue Pilbara roadshow complements our Mental Wellness Standard, which is designed to help our employees understand mental wellness; further develop our leaders and enrich workplace culture by connecting our people to free mental health support and resources,” Swayn said.

“We are aware that the demographics of our workforce align with those within the broader community who are at risk of mental health issues which is why we are committed to implementing practical measures to assist employees who may be at risk of experiencing mental health problems.”

beyondblue CEO, Georgie Harman, acknowledged BHP Billiton Iron Ore for its proactive approach to workplace mental wellbeing.

“Just like for all Australians, it is vital that people living and working in the Pilbara understand the risks associated with mental health problems and know that support is available,” Harman said.

“This trip means that thousands of miners in a male-dominated industry will learn more about depression and anxiety, how to prevent and recover from them and why seeking support is so important.”

Harman said men were less likely to seek help for mental health than women because they didn’t want to be seen as weak, or burden on others.

“The truth however is that it takes guts to tackle a mental illness and men are often amazed at how much better they feel once they take the first steps on the road to recovery,” Harman said.

BHP Billiton General Manager Mt Whaleback, Pat Bourke, who operates the largest single pit iron ore mine in the world and resides in the town of Newman in the Pilbara, said he’s seen first-hand how mental health issues can impact people living in the bush.

“Working and living so close together means, even more so, that we need to look out for each other,” Bourke said.

“When health issues are of concern to the broader community, they are inevitably a concern to our workers as well.

“Without a healthy, capable and highly-skilled workforce, we could not continue to achieve success and contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of Western Australia.”

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