In an Australian first, new research from Griffith’s Australian Institute for SuicideResearch and Prevention (AISRAP) aims to tackle myths about mental health amongminers.

The study, being presented on Tuesday (August 6) at Opening Doors: The 14thInternational Mental Health Conference, compares the mental health and emotionalwellbeing of men working in mining with men working in other industries.

“It has been suggested that resources sector employees may experience higher rates ofmental illness than workers in other industries, and that this in turn may place miners atan elevated risk of suicide,” said the study’s lead author, AISRAP senior research fellowDr Samara McPhedran.

However, she points out that much of the speculation about resources sectoremployment and mental health is based on anecdotal information rather than solid data.

“Our study in fact, found very little evidence of poor mental health or emotional wellbeingamong miners. Mental health and emotional functioning among male resources sectoremployees were both comparable with men working in other industries.

“This doesn’t mean miners don’t face work-related stresses and difficulties; it just meanthat those experiences don’t necessarily lead to mental illness or elevated suicide risk.

Carefully targeted services

“The results imply that any policies, programs, and services being considered in theresources sector context may need to be carefully targeted to issues like work-familybalance, rather than being based on assumptions of widespread, clinically significantmental health problems.”

The 14th International mental health Conference is being held at Outrigger, SurfersParadise on Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 August 2013.

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Contact: Dr Samara McPhedran, 0415 963 189