Thursday, 19 September 2019
Mental Health & Mining
Austmine Limited
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Mental Health & Mining

Mining is tough. Miners are tougher. But sometimes tough can be misunderstood as keeping up a brave face.

Results from a 2018 survey from The Medical Journal of Australia reveal 30% of workers from Australia’s remote mining workforce suffer with high or very high levels of psychological distress. This shows that keeping quiet about mental health challenges isn’t working.

Mental Health Challenges in Mining

Mining is an industry filled with unique challenges, and workers involved in fly in fly out cycles know this all too well. The nature of the cycle can create a huge disconnect between a support network and the person at the coal face. This means creating conversations with friends, partners, and work colleagues is imperative in not changing the way we perceive mental health, but also allows for early prevention if issues arise.

Austmine recently caught up with Ed Ross, Co-Founder, Trademutt to discuss this major challenge in more detail. Ed believes that an easy first step in creating conversation and destigmatising mental health could be as simple as changing your workwear.

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Solution for an Invisible Issue

Trademutt, a social enterprise workwear company, design and manufacture bright shirts for blue-collar industries to help raise the profile of mental health, with a percentage of proceeds going to a mental health charity called This is a Conversation Starter Foundation or TIACS for short.

Ed says they aim “to create a cultural shift in how people, especially blokes, can open up and come at mental health problems with a more empathetic and conscientious approach.”

Ed and his fellow Co-Founder, Dan Allen, understand it’s easy to feel alone and starting a new conversation can feel daunting. A major catalyst for the company was the loss of Dan’s close friend to suicide.

Trademutt are dedicated to making a difference and believe their colourful workwear can help combat mental health issues, hoping the bright shirts will make the invisible impossible to ignore.

 “Our loud and vibrant shirts act as a catalyst to starting the conversation around mental health in men, a topic that has been hard to approach in the past for blokes, mostly due to lack of help seeking behaviour and perceived weakness,” says Ed.

Ed and Dan want to start more conversations as they believe this to be the first step to positive change in culture. Trademutt already have Hi-Vis options available for mining and are looking at increasing their product offering as they believe getting the tools, resources, and more education to people in difficult environments is essential for them to learn how to manage their mental health and not fall down the slope.

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This is a Conversation Starter

The team have taken their solution one step further by starting their own not-for-profit, This Is A Conversation Starter Foundation (TIACS).

“TIACS is going to be a free text-based service to a psychologist 24/7. The bright shirts close the gap with people by starting the conversation and then they can seek help through the charity partner,’ says Ed.

The importance of providing a solution for all led the team to add the logo ‘This is a conversation starter’ on Trademutt shirts and give 5% of profits to funding the foundation.

Find out more about TradeMutt and TIACS Foundation.

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