Miners turn to MensLine Australia to build ties with family and beat the blues

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MensLine Australia supports more than 50,000 men across the country every year who are struggling to deal with family and relationship issues.

Program leader Gerald Moloney says the free telephone and online support service, available 24/7, gives men anywhere in Australia the opportunity to talk about the things that are going on in their lives.

"Sometimes men are good at putting on a brave face, when in reality they are doing it pretty tough, especially those within mining communities," he says. "Often men experience increased levels of strain to their personal relationships due to their working conditions and being away from home for long periods."

MensLine Australia often receives calls from men who work in the mines for months at a time, and feel at a loss when they return to their families. Before calling MensLine Australia, miner Scott* wasn't sure how to fit into the family unit and remain close to his family.

"MensLine Australia listened to me, without making any judgments, and talked to me about the importance of engaging with the family when we are together, in a meaningful way. Before, l used to go out on the boat when l got home, because l thought the family seemed to be doing okay without me. Now I realise they want me to be with them, and my wife wants us to be closer, and not just feel like she is doing all the parenting on her own. l am finding it easier to know 'how' to belong and be part of their lives, after talking it over," Scott said.

It is not only men with wives and children who experience difficulties due to the nature of FIFO/DIDO work. Single miner, Adam*, felt isolated and was able to turn to MensLine Australia for support.

"I started working in the mines to save some money to put a deposit on a house near where my friends and family live. I rent close by on the weeks I'm not working, and find I am very lonely. The other blokes go back home to their families, while l just go out and drink because I don't have a girlfriend. When l spoke with the MensLine counsellor, it was good. I don't have many conversations like that. I felt less useless and overwhelmed, and this helped to lighten the load," Adam said.

MensLine Australia is available whenever you feel you need some support, or someone to talk to. Women can also contact MensLine Australia if they are concerned about a man in their lives.

The website www.mensline.org.au offers tip sheets and worksheets, as well as a referral database and an online forum. MensLine Australia can also provide ongoing support through up to six, 50-minute counselling sessions, where a counsellor will contact you at a scheduled time. Call 1300 78 99 78 or visit www.mensline.org.au

*Names have been changed for privacy.

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