In a room full of men wearing high-vis, Andrew McMahon asked the question: do you know of any work colleagues who are in trouble?
McMahon is the project manager for Mates in Mining and the trouble he was alluding to were those associated with mental health.
“What we know is eight people every day die from suicide – it is the biggest killer of males aged between 25-50 years.
“And given the fact coal mining is a male dominated industry then we are going to have plenty of people working in our industry that are suffering from mental health issues.
According to Andrew people save people and thats the ethos of Mates in Mining.
Mates in Mining is a charity that was established in 2008 to reduce the high level of suicide among Australian mine workers.
The program is based on the ‘MATES in Construction’ (MIC) program that has seen a reduction in suicide rates in the Queensland construction industry and aims to establish a similar model within the coal mining industry.
Funding for the program comes from Coal Services Health & Safety Trust.
McMahon who is based in Newcastle was speaking to Peabody’s Wambo workforce last week.
Wambo’s general manager Albert Scheepers, who was a member of the audience, said the event was part of their annual safety at work day.
“This year’s topic was suicide prevention and we are keen to see the Mates in Mining program introduced to our mine site,” he said.
Mates in Mining provides a program of training that is unique to mining workers and is designed around the culture and issues associated with the industry, such as long hours, the shift in job security and the toll it can take on relationships.
“We know blokes are extremely reluctant to seek help – we estimate seven out of 100 men would call a helpline,” said Andrew. “But we know if a mate helps a mate then the outcome can be a positive one and thats the aim of this program.”
Need help or you are looking to help a Mate – then call the MATES in Mining 24/7 helpline 1300 642 111