BHP Billiton brings beyondblue mental health roadshow to Pilbara mines

The not-for-profit beyondblue roadshow is visiting Pilbara mining sites this week to provide thousands of mining employees with direct access to its mental health resources and support.

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The Pilbara roadshow, which is supported by BHP Billiton Iron Ore and is an extension of the National Roadshow, started at BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s Port Hedland operations this week before travelling to all five of its mine sites, employee accommodation and townships of Port Hedland and Newman over 10 days.

BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Vice President of Health, Safety and Environment, Brett Swayn, said the roadshow complemented the support provided by BHP Billiton to its employees suffering from mental health issues and would help raise awareness about mental illnesses.

“The beyondblue Pilbara roadshow complements our Mental Wellness Standard, which is designed to help our employees understand mental wellness; further develop our leaders and enrich workplace culture by connecting our people to free mental health support and resources,” Mr Swayn said.

“We are aware that the demographics of our workforce align with those within the broader community who are at risk of mental health issues which is why we are committed to implementing practical measures to assist employees who may be at risk of experiencing mental health problems.”

Beyondblue CEO, Georgie Harman, commended BHP Billiton Iron Ore for its proactive approach to workplace mental wellbeing.

“Just like for all Australians, it is vital that people living and working in the Pilbara understand the risks associated with mental health problems and know that support is available. This trip means that thousands of miners in a male-dominated industry will learn more about depression and anxiety, how to prevent and recover from them and why seeking support is so important,” Mr Harman said.

“Australians need to know this, which is why we appreciate BHP Billiton’s support in bringing the roadshow to its employees. Not only will this visit make BHP Billiton’s workplaces in the Pilbara more mentally healthy, it will help boost and protect the mental health of the broader communities.”

BHP Billiton General Manager Mt Whaleback, Pat Bourke – who operates the largest single pit iron ore mine in the world and resides in the town of Newman in the Pilbara – said he has witnessed first-hand how mental health issues can impact people “living in the bush”.

“Working and living so close together means, even more so, that we need to look out for each other. When health issues are of concern to the broader community, they are inevitably a concern to our workers as well,” Mr Bourke said.

“Without a healthy, capable and highly-skilled workforce, we could not continue to achieve success and contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of Western Australia.”

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