THE Western Australian Government has launched a new online support tool as part of its campaign to improve mental health across the state’s fly-in, fly-out workforce.

Launched by mental health minister Helen Morton at a FIFO exhibition in Joondalup, Western Australia, This FIFO Life is a new website providing information on help and support resources for FIFO workers and their families to improve mental wellbeing.

The website was designed by the Mental Illness Fellowship of Western Australia (MIFWA) and features blogs, articles and links about the various challenges associated with FIFO working arrangements.

“The state government is committed to reducing Western Australia’s suicide rate, which unfortunately stands at around one person losing their life to suicide every day,” Ms Morton said.

“Part of that commitment includes the allocation of small grants through the State Suicide Prevention Strategy for events such as the FIFO Expo, and it also includes the provision of funds to non-government organisations such as MIFWA to develop resources such as This FIFO Life.”

In particular, MIFWA received a $120,000 grant from the state government to fund the website project, which the minister said was developed under consultation with a range of FIFO workers and their families.

“FIFO workers expected to number about 63,500 by 2015 and form the backbone of the mining and resource industry in WA,” Ms Morton said.

“FIFO workers have unique needs and they will be recognised as a priority group in the new multi-year suicide prevention strategy currently under development.

“This FIFO Life is a fantastic website about many different issues relating to mental health and FIFO workers and also includes short videos of FIFO workers and family members highlighting issues and sharing ideas, as well as a section on where to get help.”

FIFO mental health remains a top priority

The launch of the new website follows the Western Australian Government’s decision to undertake a formal inquiry into mental health among the state’s FIFO workforce.

The Inquiry into mental illness in fly-in, fly-out workers will be carried out by the Education and Health Standing Committee and will examine ‘the contributing factors that may lead to mental illness and suicide amongst FIFO workers; the current legislation, regulations, policies and practices for workplace mental health in Western Australia; and current initiatives by government, industry and community, and recommend improvements’.

As the national resource industry group, AMMA will soon make a submission on behalf of AMMA members regarding this important issue. If you would like to provide feedback or be involved, contact AMMA senior industry policy adviser, Tristan Menalda, on 03 9614 4777.

For more information about the inquiry, click here.