Lifting the bar on mental health awareness

Written by Michelle Zydower     September 27 2023 at 11:05 AM

Rosebery Mine is destigmatising and building awareness of mental health issues in the workplace, through an ongoing program run by Industry Minds.


Fourteen employees recently took part in a 2-day mental health first aid course to help them to identify when their colleagues or family members are struggling.


John Clark from Industry Minds said the course is about giving them the confidence to identify the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and the tools to have a conversation.


“When we are approaching someone who’s having a mental health crisis or mental health problem they can be quite defensive, withdrawn and isolated so making that approach and knowing how to handle it can be quite tricky,” he said.


“A lot of people don’t have that conversation because they are worried that they’ll upset the person or that it won’t be received well. What we are doing is just giving them those skills to build a really quick rapport with people, so they feel comfortable to open up and talk.”


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over two in five Australians aged 16-85 years have experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life.


Manager of Health and Safety at Rosebery Mine, Wendy Hodgetts said MMG’s number one value is we think safety first.


“We have a significant focus across our site on physical safety and reducing injuries, however we recognise that mental health is just as important as physical health,” Ms Hodgetts said.


Rosebery Mine Electrician Ryan McGowan said it’s important for men to be able to express their feelings.


“We all have things going on, but we can change it by talking. This program has helped me to understand what to say and what not to say when I approach someone and what path to go down, so I don’t make it awkward,” Mr McGowan said.


Rosebery Mine employee Vickie Odgers said the course opened her eyes to how she can support her colleagues.


“You notice people at work might have an off day and at least then we know how to approach them, and what to say to them to open up the conversation,” Ms Odgers said.


“This course is great, as it’s going to help me a lot especially with people in my life and hopefully it will help people open up.”


Mr Clark said mental health first aid is just as important as regular first aid.


“When it comes to anxiety and depression, if we know what the signs and symptoms are, we can do very simple practical things that can completely change someone’s trajectory,” Mr Clark said.

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