Miners face depression and anxiety

Health professionals say depression, anxiety, and stress are hidden in workers on most mines and companies should spend more on protecting mental health.

Fairfax Media reports the Australasian Centre for Rural & Remote Mental Health is calling on mining companies to enact better mental health initiatives as part of a mine’s safety measures.

Centre CEO Dr Jennifer Bowers told Fairfax Media mining companies were reluctant to spend on mental health.

She said while the dangers of physical harm were well addressed mental health was also a safety liability for workers.

“It’s very acceptable now for everybody to wear their fluoro gear, to wear their protective gear, to be aware of all the issues that they have to protect their safety and health,” Bowers said.

“What’s not recognised is that if you don’t feel good about yourself [or] if you’ve got problems with your family or your mates … you’re over 40 per cent more likely to be at risk of a physical accident.”

According to Fairfax Media while research is currently lacking some testimonials have indicated the pressures of mine work, including long shifts, and harsh environments, have contributed to worker stress.

Bowers said the Centre had heard private disclosures from workers about the issues they faced.

“People will not declare it in those macho ‘suck it up princess’ sorts of environments,” she said.

Last week new research from Queensland’s mining regions indicated while miners faced unique job pressures they “still remain happy” in their relationships.

Dr Karin Stokes from The Centre of Environmental Management said early indications from research showed mining workers were balancing mining’s lifestyle challenges.

“There is a perception out there that miners will quit after two years because they can’t cope with the work or it impacts their social life,” she said.

“So far I have not spoken to anyone who has been in the industry for less than four years and is not happy.”

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