Mental health: Research granted for impact of FIFO on wellbeing

The state government has granted The University of Western Australia funds for research into fly-in fly-out workers’ wellbeing.

A grant of $498,841 has been given to the university’s centre for transformative work design, to carry out research into the mental health impact FIFO arrangements on workers.

Mental Health Minister Roger Cook announced the research program as part of the 50th annual Mental Health Week to encourage more people to turn their attention to mental health awareness and contribute to this Western Australian study. The research program will seek to understand the range of workplace factors that contribute to mental health issues in FIFO workers and identify positive strategies that can be used by individuals, families and organisations in the FIFO environment.

The impact on the FIFO lifestyle has always been a major issue for the mining industry, with many companies taking their own initiatives to combat mental health issues in the workplace. Rio Tinto, who has been operating FIFO from Busselton for 10 years now, has issued a range of initiatives for its workers. Rio Tinto Australia managing director Joanne Farrell said their employees were its top priority.

“Our people at site are often isolated from family and friends and it’s really important we recognise our employee’s safety extends beyond physical safety to include mental health and wellbeing too.

“Our peer support programmes focus on building positive mental health and resilience including how we can integrate health into leadership training and how we set up our camps and offices to maximise health outcomes by design.”

FIFO workers and their families are invited to express their interest and find out more by visiting crowdresearch.uwa.edu.au/project/mental-health-fly-fly-fifo-workers

For support, call beyondblue on 1300 224 636 for 24/7 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Have your say, does the FIFO life impact on you or your family’s wellbeing? Email jemillah.dawson@fairfaxmedia.com.au