Mates in Energy takes on OH&S for energy workers

A new program aiming to improve mental health and tackle suicide in the energy sector was launched in Queensland recently.

Mates in Energy, is the first of its type tailored for the Australian energy sector and will be rolled out to Ergon Energy and Energex employees from Torres Strait to the Gold Coast.

“Poor mental health can affect anyone – one in five adult Australians experiences a mental illness in any given year, and nearly half of us will be directly affected during our lifetime,” said Minister for Energy Mark Bailey.

“Under Mates in Energy, more than 7000 employees of State-Government owned electricity distributors Ergon and Energex could receive special awareness training delivered by Mates in Construction to boost their resilience and to improve the network of support.

“This will mean mentally healthier workplaces, homes and communities throughout our state, and a real focus on suicide prevention.

“It follows the appointment of two dedicated mental health advocates from within Energy Queensland’s companies, and will flow into more intensive training of volunteer employees who will provide powerful peer-to-peer support.”

Bailey said Mates In Energy would build understanding on how we create mentally healthy workplaces.

“This will ensure there’s appropriate support for people experiencing difficulties and will go a long way to eliminating stigma.

“Mates in Energy will be rolled out in 2018, helping to create safer and happier workplaces for employees and, by extension, healthier and more resilient communities for all Queenslanders.”

Employment and Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said Mates in Construction provided a great role model for the new program.

“The impact of suicide is devastating, affecting families, work colleagues, communities, service providers, and first responders,” said Grace.

“Government funding is helping Mates in Construction spread the message in rural and remote areas – suicide is a workplace issue that we all need to address together.

“Broncos captain Darius Boyd has taken on the role of inaugural Mates in Construction ambassador and is fulfilling this role in between his football commitments.

“Darius is keen to get out onto construction sites to talk with workers, especially those struggling with mental health issues.”

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