New Hope industry role model for positive mental health programs

25 September 2017

New Hope Group has been cast as an industry role model for positively assisting employees to improve their mental health after a Jeebropilly Mine worker’s acceptance speech caught the attention of the Queensland Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health at this year’s Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference.

On collecting New Hope’s award for Best Health Program, Jeebropilly Mine Operator Jason Linke shared his struggle with depression and the important role the mine’s health program played in encouraging him to seek help.

Inspired by the positive impact the program played in Jason’s life, the Queensland Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health along with the Chair of the Occupational Health in Mining Advisory Committee, invited Jason to present at the August 2017 meeting of the Occupational Health in Mining Advisory Committee.

Dedicated to better understanding the health hazards in mining, the committee is a partnership between the Queensland Mines Inspectorate, unions and industry representatives and the Commissioner.

The committee has identified mental health as one of its priorities.

New Hope’s Safety and Health Coordinators Brendan Ryan and Stewart Sherrington joined Jason in presenting to the committee in late August.

The trio shared New Hope’s learnings from the successful Live Well, Work Well health program, paying particular attention to the program’s ability to generate conversations about mental health.

"The biggest thing New Hope’s Live Well, Work Well program has taught me, is that depression can affect any one of us at any time," Jason said.

"Learning to understand depression and how it affects us is key, because once you understand what’s happening you can ask for help, and you learn what the warning signs look like in the people around you.

"By standing up and talking about the struggles I was having, I gave the rest of my crew permission to do the same and it’s had a real knock on effect around our mine site."

Now in full swing at New Hope’s Jeebropilly Mine and New Acland Mine, the Live Well, Work Well program gives employees access to health professionals like doctors and psychologists, and delivers monthly tool box talks on health-related topics like stress management and men’s health.