Miners Battling Depression And Anxiety

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April 29th, 2012

THOUSANDS of Australian miners suffer from mental health problems and a "macho mining culture" stops them from getting help, a new study has found.

Up to 10,000 mining company employees each year have mental health problems such as anxiety, depression or substance abuse, the study commissioned by the NSW Minerals Council says.

The cost to the industry may be as high as $450 million a year, it says.

Staff across all levels, from managers to those at the coal face, are being affected.

NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said today the resources industry must do more to tackle the issue.

"We have the policies in place, but we need to consider ways to link them into a wider strategy," he said in a statement.

The report, prepared by the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, found some resource-sector employees were reluctant to seek help until their issue gets really bad.

"We want to break the attitude that a doctor is like a plumber - you only need one when something is broken."

The mental health report was launched at a NSW Minerals Council conference on occupational health in the Hunter Valley today.

Former Newcastle league player Andrew Johns and senior federal Liberal MP Andrew Robb, who has struggled with depression, were speakers at the event.