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Does Help Seeking Behavior Change Over Time Following a Workplace Mental Health Intervention in the Coal Mining Industry?

Sayers, Emma, BOcc Thy; Rich, Jane, BEnSc, PhD; Rahman, Md Mijanur, BSc (stat), MSc (stat); Kelly, Brian, MD, PhD; James, Carole, DipCOT, BSc(OT), MHS(OT), PhD (Occ Thy)

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2019 - Volume 61 - Issue 6 - p e282–e290
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001605
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
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Objectives: To investigate help seeking behavior and attitudes to mental health in mining employees.

Methods: A pre-post survey study of employees from two Australian coal mines. Data were collected prior to, at baseline, at 6 and 18 months following delivery of the MATES in mining (MIM) peer support mental health intervention.

Results: Help seeking behaviors increased, with participants’ sex, age, relationship status, shift type, and psychological distress significantly associated with likelihood of seeking help (P <0.05). In relation to stigma, significantly more participants’ disagreed that they would be treated differently by friends or colleagues following disclosure of mental illness (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Results provide an understanding of help seeking behaviors of mining employees; support the MATES in Mining peer support program in the men dominated industry and provide information to guide mental health workplace program development more broadly.

School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia (Ms Sayers); Centre for Resources Health and Safety, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia (Dr Rich); School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia (Mr Rahman, Dr Kelly); School of Health Sciences, and Centre for Resources Health and Safety, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Australia (Dr James).

Address correspondence to: Carole James, DipCOT, BSc(OT), MHS(OT), PhD (Occ Thy), School of Health Sciences, and Centre for Resources Health and Safety, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Australia (Carole.James@newcastle.edu.au).

This work was supported by industry funds under Grant number: G1501545.

The datasets supporting the conclusions of this article are available upon request.

Clinical significance: It is important for employers to consider mental health as part of health and safety at the workplace. Benefits in upskilling employees and managers with knowledge of common mental health problems and encouraging a peer support approach, such as the MIM model of workplace mental health intervention is supported.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Copyright © 2019 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine