Palelei leads Macmahon mental health program
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.