WA’s FIFO mine workers will be encouraged to reach for essential oils and stress balls instead of chips and chocolate as new-look vending machines are rolled out at sites across the State.
The initiative aims to put 24/7 “wellness stations” in mining camps to help those seeking support in workplaces notorious for stigma around mental health.
Perth’s Happiness Co — the company behind the roll-out — says the vending machines will be filled with a variety of self-help items.
Workers will be able to grab an essential oil called “Man Enough” — created to “alleviate negative thoughts while soothing stressed out nerves, leaving you ready to chill”.
Stress balls, a sleeping spray and mental health conversation cards with questions to ask colleagues, such as “What do you think happens after death?”, “Any strategies for temper control?” and “The worst job you have ever had to do?” will also be available.
It comes after big miner BHP recently slapped a four-drink limit on FIFO workers along with a booze cut-off after 9.30pm
The machines, which would be fully funded by companies at no cost to workers, are the brainchild of wellness station founder Monique McCarthy, who believes they can play an important role alongside other health programs.
“If you look at the stats around mental health and wellbeing — they are alarming, especially in the mining industry. We’re in talks with about five major mining companies at the moment.”
“This is never to replace any mental health initiatives.” Ms McCarthy said. “This is a complementary product that works alongside what is already there and it gives people access to things in real time.”
The first site to take on the machines is the Fremantle head office of one of Australia’s largest shipping services — Monson Agencies.
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