Media Release: Six simple strategies to help boost the emotional resilience of FIFO workers on World Mental Health Day

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October 2014

Avoiding the wages trap, keeping the lines of communication open and staying physically fit are among six simple strategies for helping FIFO workers to stay mentally healthy.

Mining Family Matters founder Alicia Ranford says World Mental Health Day is an ideal time for FIFO workers and their partners to focus on improving their emotional resilience.

"All families feel the strain of trying to balance competing work and lifestyle priorities – throw FIFO into the mix and it can really increase the mental pressure," Ranford says.

"At Mining Family Matters, we believe strong relationships are a vital part of preventing stress, anxiety and depression."

Simple strategies suggested by Mining Family Matters psychologist Angie Willcocks include:

1. Be honest about how you're feeling and tackle problems as a team. Many problems that arise are symptoms of the FIFO lifestyle, rather than relationship problems.
2. Set shared goals.
3. Don't assume that your life is tougher than your partner's. (Life is not a competition - you're both exhausted.)
4. Get financial advice to ensure good wages are saved and invested wisely, instead of being trapped by large debt.
5. Exercise regularly - it will improve the health of both body and mind.
6. Try to keep the lines of communication open when you're apart (and if you don't feel like talking, explain why in a loving way).

"Good mental health isn't about feeling happy every day of our lives – it’s normal to occasionally feel down or worried," Willcocks says.

"The ups and downs of life bring ups and downs in mood as well, and this is definitely true for those who work away – or for those whose partner works away.

"Each and every one of us should take responsibility for our own mental health."

Mining Family Matters – an award-winning support service created to boost the emotional resilience of employees and families in mining, oil and gas – has joined forces with Wesley LifeForce to provide suicide prevention workshops for the mining industry.

"For five years now, Mining Family Matters has focused on providing professional advice and simple strategies aimed at keeping mining relationships strong and families healthy,” Ranford says.

"With mental health problems and suicide becoming a growing concern for many Australian industries including mining and resources, we're delighted to be working with Wesley LifeForce in this important area."