Palelei leads Macma­hon men­tal health pro­gram

The Australian Mining Review - - MINING & MENTAL HEALTH -

MORE than 1500 fly-in, fly-out em­ploy­ees work­ing in some of Aus­tralia’s most re­mote mines are ben­e­fit­ing from a new men­tal health pro­gram run by min­ing com­pany Macma­hon.

Launched in March, the Strong Minds, Strong Mines pro­gram was de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with Ru­ral & Re­mote Men­tal Health, spe­cial­ists in the men­tal health space.

The pro­gram de­liv­ers monthly tool­box talks de­signed specif­i­cally to tackle the grow­ing and of­ten com­plex men­tal health chal­lenges fac­ing re­mote min­ing work­ers.

The pro­gram cov­ers a range of is­sues in­clud­ing the stigma of men­tal health, anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, sui­cide pre­ven­tion, re­la­tion­ships and fi­nan­cial stress.

Macma­hon has also en­gaged re­tired mixed mar­tial artist, Soa “The Hulk” Palelei as an am­bas­sador for the pro­gram.

Mr Palelei is well known for his UFC ca­reer and is a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate for men­tal health.

His per­sonal story makes him a very cred­i­ble speaker on de­pres­sion, bul­ly­ing, re­silience and over­com­ing ad­ver­sity.

Mr Palelei un­der­stands the pres­sures of work­ing away from home, being one of the first Aus­tralians to com­pete in the Ul­ti­mate Fight­ing Cham­pi­onships in the US.

This ex­pe­ri­ence en­abled him to build a real con­nec­tion with Macma­hon’s work­force very quickly.

As part of the Strong Minds, Strong Mines pro­gram, Mr Palelei vis­its Macma­hon sites on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to talk about is­sues that af­fect men­tal well­be­ing.

Macma­hon em­ploy­ees also have the op­por­tu­nity to have one- on- one and group per­sonal train­ing ses­sions with him dur­ing his vis­its, and in the near fu­ture Macma­hon will of­fer this ben­e­fit to part­ners of em­ploy­ees us­ing the gym at the com­pany’s head of­fice in Perth.

Mr Palelei said he was very pleased to be work­ing with a com­pany taking a proac­tive ap­proach to sup­port the men­tal and phys­i­cal health of its peo­ple.

“Just giv­ing peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to talk with some­one about de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety can be in­cred­i­bly valu­able in a FIFO set­ting, and the gym fa­cil­i­ties at many of Macma­hon’s sites are set up to fa­cil­i­tate this,” Mr Palelei said.

“Ex­er­cise it­self can also be an ef­fec­tive treat­ment for some men­tal health is­sues.”

Mr Palelei’s pres­ence has al­ready had a pos­i­tive im­pact on sites re­ceiv­ing stand­ing ova­tions at tool­box talks.

“I’ve had guys come up and per­son­ally thank me for shar­ing my story and say­ing that they’ve now got the courage to talk about their men­tal health with­out fear of being la­belled,” he said.

Soa “The Hulk” Palelei is an am­bas­sador for Macma­hon’s men­tal health pro­gram.

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