Mental health experts are lending a hand to Hunter mine workers and their families, stung by the massive market downturn.
The Hunter Institute of Mental Health has set up a program called Partners in Mining, in conjunction with the industry group Coal Services.
Registrations are open for group work shops starting next month, focussing on providing information and support.
The Institute’s program manager Nicola Ingold said up to 10,000 people in the state’s mining industry experience mental illness in any given year.
“It is still a problem in the community generally, and it is also a problem in the workplace, often in male dominated workplaces like mining and construction,” she said.
“What we have done in terms of Partners in Mining, and the communications around that, is that we have really tried to get all the mine sites and the mine companies on board.”
Ms Ingold said the new initiative aims to curb depression by focussing on information and support.
“We know that it is a major public health issue, depression alone, and it is the leading cause of absenteeism in the Australian workplace,” she said.
“It also has a significant impact on those people in those caring and support roles.
“That is why the Partners in Mining is so good.”
This article first appeared on ‘ABC‘ on 27 August 2015.