A new Blueprint to address mental health and wellbeing issues in the workplace has been released by the Australian Mining Industry.

The development of the Blueprint reflects the minerals sector’s recognition that industry has a key role to play in addressing mental illness and wellbeing.

The Blueprint for Mental Health in the Mining Industry provides a broad-based framework for best practice models of health and safety for the sector. This Blueprint spells out goals and strategies for the promotion of health, prevention of mental health problems and response to those in need. It also describes programs for supporting return to work, underpinned by an emphasis on robust evaluation. The Blueprint recognises that the support for workers in remote environments and their families is a key priority and ongoing challenge for the industry.

Mental illness can affect workplace productivity through absenteeism and ‘presenteeism’ and if problems are left unaddressed, it can also have an effect on rates of the prevalence of accidental injury in the workplace.

Despite the growing awareness of the importance of mental health, there is still much to do. The development and launch of the Blueprint is an important step forward. It builds on research that has concluded that a broad multifaceted approach within an industry framework is most likely to deliver long term results, and bring best return on investment, both cost benefit and broader social benefit.

The launch of the Blueprint came as part of the CEO Health and Safety Forum hosted in Melbourne today by the Minerals Council of Australia.

It included a range of speakers including Tom Palmer, Senior Vice President and Chair of the MCA Health and Safety Committee; Professor Brian Kelly from Centre for Resources Health and Safety at the University of Newcastle; Dr Rob McDonald, Vice President (Health) from BHP Billiton; Georgie Harman, the Chief Executive Officer for BeyondBlue; Jorgen Gallenstrup, the Chief Executive Officer from Mates in Construction and Daniel Keighran VC, a former Kalgoorlie miner who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 2012.

The important message that mental health is everyone’s business has been a key platform for national and state government mental health policies. Industry has a key role to play, and a willingness to work intensively with communities, researchers and health services to advance our progress towards better mental health for all.

You can download and read the Blueprint here.