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Mental health: MCA develops blueprint to address issues in Australian mining sector

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has launched a new blueprint to address mental healthin the mining industry, developing the framework to promote...

|Sep 17|magazine10 min read

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has launched a new blueprint to address mental health in the mining industry, developing the framework to promote wellbeing while reducing the risks and impacts of mental illness.

“The blueprint for mental health in the mining industry provides a broad-based framework for best practice models of health and safety for the sector,” said MCA CEO Brendan Pearson.“This blueprint spells out goals and strategies for the promotion of health, prevention of mental health problems and response to those in need. It also describes programs for supporting return to work, underpinned by an emphasis on robust evaluation.”

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The blueprint reveals the ongoing challenge to support workers in remote environments and their families, highlighting it as a key priority.

“Mental illness can affect workplace productivity through absenteeism and 'presenteeism' and if problems are left unaddressed, it can also have an effect on the prevalence of accidental injury in the workplace,” Pearson said.

“Despite the growing awareness of the importance of mental health, there is still much to do. The development and launch of the blueprint is an important step forward. It builds on research that has concluded that a broad multifaceted approach within an industry framework is most likely to deliver long-term results and bring best return on investment, both cost benefit and broader social benefit.”

Unveiled last week at the CEO Health and Safety Forum in Melbourne, Australia, the blueprint draws off previous work initiated by the NSW Minerals Council, including collaboration with the University of Newcastle’s Institute for Energy and Resources, Center for Resources Health and Safety and the Hunter Institute of Mental Health.

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Australia’s mining sector isn’t alone. More than 50 million Americans suffer from mental illness or mental disorders. 

The Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CEME) also released its own blueprint on mental health.

“Mental illness is a significant issue within the community and there is growing appreciation for how mental health issues may manifest in the workplace,” said CME deputy CEO Nicole Roocke. “CME recognizes there is an important role for all workplaces to play in promoting wellbeing and addressing the risks and impact of mental illness.”

Addressing mental health and wellbeing in the mining sector is the first step, cultivating and supporting a workplace aligned with these goals is the next. 

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