Springvale Mine workers join together against suicide

TOGETHER AS ONE: Springvale mine staff at the launch of the Mates in Mining program on Thursday, Septemeber 14. Picture: SUPPLIED

TOGETHER AS ONE: Springvale mine staff at the launch of the Mates in Mining program on Thursday, Septemeber 14. Picture: SUPPLIED

Sprinqvale Mine has recently introduced a program to help its workers identify mental health problems and suicidal tendencies in their workmates.

Mates in Mining (MIM) follows the Mates in Construction program launched in Queensland in 2008, which saw suicide rates amongst construction workers in the state fall while the rate for the rest of the population continued to rise.

Health, Safety and Training Superintendent at Springvale Mine Paul Irwin said the mine agreed to implement the program within the local workforce after a meeting with the CEO of Mates in Mining.

“Tragically, at around the same time, we had lost a young workmate to suicide and many of his colleagues were struggling with their loss,” Mr Irwin said.

“After introducing the program to our Health, Safety, Environment and Community committee and Springvale's union there was unanimous support to implement the program."

Mr Irwin said mental health was an issue that needed to be addressed in the workplace as well as in the wider community.

“We would hope that our people learn the skills to identify when their workmates, as well as friends and family are struggling and need some support and are better prepared to help them seek support,” he said.

Close to 90 per cent of workers at the mine attended the initial MIM general awareness training and 34 per cent put their hands up to become Connectors.

Connectors will participate in further training to be equipped to connect those that need help with the right support mechanisms.

Springvale is the first site to implement MIM in the western coalfields and Mr Irwin believes more mines in the region will follow suit.

“I believe it will be taken up by other Centennial mines in the district and one of the areas larger contract companies has already enquired about arranging sessions for their employees.”

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