Practising good mental health in FIFO

Every day, nine Australians take their own life due to unmanaged mental health. Of that number, 75 per cent are male. These staggering numbers total around 3,300 Australian lives a year a result of the stigma surrounding mental wellness and practicing mindfulness within, primarily our male workforce.

This trend is further skewed in the mining, energy, and resources sector with a reported one in three FIFO workers experiencing elevated levels of mental distress, compared to the 17% of non-FIFO workers.

Practising good mental health is more than a fad; it is necessary and non-negotiable.

As we service the FIFO industry, these statistics concern us. We feel passionately about taking responsibility of the wellbeing of our placed candidates, many of which fall into the male and FIFO worker categories. For this reason, we have built trusted support networks into our recruitment process, so candidates know we are here for the 4:00 am phone call, or ‘venting’ email recipient.

By the very nature of the job, FIFO can be extremely isolating, so it is important to implement habits and practices that ensure long-term mental wellness.

We have compiled our top three tips to start practising good mental health today:

#1 – Take Five

FIFO workers spend 12-14 hours of their day working, leaving only about 10 hours free to sleep, eating and hygiene. Put an 8 hour sleep in there and FIFO workers are only left with around two hours free a day, if that, to put their feet up.

Compound that with long swings, tiring physical work and need to let their hair down, this 2 hours can quickly turn into a couple of beers and two-hours of scrolling. This is not always a terrible thing, but overall, it does not serve its ‘relaxing’ purpose.

Even if it is five minutes a day, or done while brushing your teeth, it is vital that you take a moment to check in with yourself. Ask yourself what you would ask a friend you are concerned with; Are you okay? Are you feeling burnt out? Do you need something that will make this easier?

By looking inwardly, you can become more in-tune with your needs, the status of your mental health and can take the proactive measures to prioritise your wellness.

#2 – Check-In

Similarly to looking within yourself, it is equally as important to check in with others. Whether it is your mate on-site or at home, your missus or your parents, the act of checking in and reaching out reminds you of the network you are in.

No matter how physically isolated you may feel, mentally it is important to take stock of your community and remind yourself that you belong.

Further to this point, surrounding yourself with positive influences is important.

It is a tired piece of advice but it is true. Keep people around that are worth having around, make sure that they are advancing and supporting your mental wellness, not hindering it.

#3 – Give Back

When we say ‘give back’ we mean it in a broad, abstract sense. Yes, obviously donate your time or money to worthwhile causes if you want, but what about the small wins you can give yourself?

If that is giving yourself extra time to hit the gym, returning a call from your mum, or even rewarding yourself for a job well-done, it is important to recognise the things that you can do that helps you take a breath for your mental health.

Being mindful and present is not selfish.

There is plenty of support available and some are more specific than others. We have found the following outlets incredibly supportive to the types of issues we have been privy to in this industry: 

My Budget

Relationships Australia

Guidance about mental health and wellbeing (Government of Western Australia)

Headspace

Mates in Mining

Mates in Construction

Fifo Zero

ABOUT MACFORCE:

MACFORCE Australia is a recruitment company with heart, focused on changing the way people are employed in Australia, particularly across the mining, construction, and civil sector. MACFORCE supports candidates to find suitable work placements, while supporting its clients to find suitable employees.

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