Working Well: Mental health and mining

Principal Researchers

Dr Ross Tynan
Professor Brian Kelly
Associate Professor Carol James
Ms Robyn Considine
Ms Jaelea Skehan

Research Status - Completed

Research Partners

This project was led by Professor Brian Kelly, Faculty of Health, Newcastle University. It was delivered in partnership with the University of Newcastle, the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources and Everymind.

Research Funding

Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP)

About the research

Everymind collaborated with partners from the University of Newcastle (UoN), the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources and other key stakeholders from the industry on this project funded by the Australian Coal Association Research Program in 2013-2014. UoN was the project lead for the background phase and prevalence study, with Everymind being the project lead for the intervention component.

Working Well focused on innovation and excellence through partnership with the minerals industry and communities.

The project had three broad aims:

  1. To improve the mental health and wellbeing of both the mining communities and any associated communities
  2. To build the capacity of the minerals industry to promote mental health and wellbeing and respond positively to mental illness
  3. To develop innovative research and industry partnerships to create new knowledge in mental health and increased capacity to address mental health and mental illness.

This research was undertaken across eight coal mine sites throughout New South Wales and Queensland. The research protocol consisted of two primary stages.

Stage 1: Prevalence

The initial stage of the project was to investigate the prevalence of mental health problems within the Australian coal mining sector. During this phase, members of the research team visited both open cut and underground mine sites across New South Wales and Queensland. The research comprehensively evaluated the mental health of employees within the mining sector, through an eclectic combination of key informant interviews, focus groups and tablet based surveys, in addition to a scoping of available mental health programs.

Stage 2: Intervention

The second stage of the project involved the development, implementation and piloting of a multifaceted intervention strategy informed by the results of the prevalence stage of the study. The intervention included a systematic review of current organisational mental health policies, as well as the development of a targeted supervisor training model and a workplace education component.

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