TMEC’s Blueprint for Mental Health and Wellbeing was launched by Hon Michael Ferguson MP, Minister for Health at a function in Burnie on 31 March.
The Blueprint supports the Tasmanian resources and processing sectors to identify and address workforce mental health issues. It defines a range of directions, targets and strategies at both the company and site level to reduce the risks and impacts of mental ill-health and to ensure industry employees are well supported throughout their entire careers.
The Blueprint launch was well attended by representatives from all levels and sectors of the industry; reflecting the importance of communicating shared experiences and ideas for improvement while working together to reduce any stigma associated with mental ill-health.
Joan Rylah MP attended as the representative for the Minister for Resources and John Clark from Beyond Blue was a guest speaker at the launch. A former chemical engineer and now a support worker in mental health services, John knows first-hand the debilitating effects of depression, anxiety and workplace ‘burnout’. He recounted his experiences at the launch event to inspire industry members to seek help and utilise the kinds of services identified in the Blueprint.
According to TMEC CEO, Wayne Bould, the nature of mining work created particular stressors that industry operators were seeking to address by adopting the Blueprint.
“The rosters can be long for workers and it’s particularly hard on young people who are developing young families and want to spend time with them,” Wayne said.
“Mental illness impacts workplace productivity through absenteeism and presenteeism and flows on to directly impact families. If mental health problems are left unaddressed, they can also lead to increased rates of accidental injury in the workplace.”
“This blueprint articulates the commitment of the Tasmanian Minerals and energy sector, through TMEC, to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees,” Wayne said.
The Blueprint provides practical direction to:
- Promote mental health awareness;
- Prevent mental ill health;
- Build capacity and culture to effectively address mental ill health in the workplace;
- Respond effectively and early in order to reduce the impact of mental ill health on employees and their families; and
- Through research, address the gaps in knowledge of mental health and mental ill health in the industry.
It’s an important new resource for the industry that organisations, sites and partners can all adopt to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the workforce.