Working Well: Mental Health and Mining

Principal Researchers

Dr Ross Tynan
Professor Brian Kelly
Associate Professor Carol James
Ms Robyn Considine
Ms Jaelea Skehan

Research Status - In progress

Research Partners

This project is being led by Professor Brian Kelly, Faculty of Health, Newcastle University. It is being delivered in partnership with the University of Newcastle, the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources and the Hunter Institute of Mental Health.

Research Funding

Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) 

About the research

In collaboration with our partners from the University of Newcastle (UoN), the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources and other key stakeholders from the industry, the Hunter Institute of Mental Health are currently working on a project funded by the Australian Coal Association Research Program.UoN is the project lead for the background phase and prevalence study, with the Hunter Institute being the project lead for the intervention component.   

Working Well focuses on innovation and excellence through partnership with the minerals industry and communities.

The project has three broad aims:

  1. To improve the mental health and wellbeing of both the mining communities and any associated communities
  2. To build the capacity of the minerals industry to promote mental health and wellbeing and respond positively to mental illness
  3. To develop innovative research and industry partnerships to create new knowledge in mental health and increased capacity to address mental health and mental illness.

This research is currently being undertaken across eight coal mine sites throughout New South Wales and Queensland. The research protocol consists of two primary stages.

Stage 1: Prevalence

The initial stage of the project is to investigate the prevalence of mental health problems within the Australian coal mining sector. During this phase, members of the research team visited both open cut and underground mine sites across New South Wales and Queensland. The research will comprehensively evaluate the mental health of employees within the mining sector, through an eclectic combination of key informant interviews, focus groups and tablet based surveys, in addition to a scoping of currently available mental health programs.

Stage 2: Intervention

The second stage of the project involves the development, implementation and piloting of a multifaceted intervention strategy informed by the results of the prevalence stage of the study. The intervention will include a systematic review of current organisational mental health policies, as well as the development of a targeted supervisor training model and a workplace education component.

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