FIFO/DIDO Mental Health Research Report 2013 - Lifeline WA

lifelinewa.org.au

FIFO/DIDO Mental Health Research Report 2013 - Lifeline WA

FIFO/DIDO Mental HealthResearch Report 2013


Lifeline WA, in partnership with specialist vehicle hirecompany Raw Hire, Australian Institute of Management WAand Edith Cowan University’s The Sellenger Centre,launched a ground-breaking research study that assessedthe relationship between mental health and fly-in-fly-out(FIFO) and drive-in-drive-out (DIDO) work practices.With a sample size of 924 respondents,the Lifeline WA research study is one ofthe largest ever in this field of research inAustralia and provides valuable insights tothe benefits and challenges of this relativelynew and growing work practice, includingthe ways in which workers cope with thesechallenges.FIFO has become a significant commuterworksystem in several mining industriesand has provided an alternative to theconstruction of residential towns whereremote mining operations exist. FIFO ismore prevalent in Western Australia thanany other state or territory due to itsabundance of mineral resources, and theresearch has highlighted the positive impactsof the sector and FIFO work practices onthe state economy. The research has alsodrawn out the importance of a mentallyhealthy workforce for the benefit not onlyof employees and their families, but also ofemployers because of the increased safety,productivity and retention on their sites.In general, all workers reported that they getalong very well with the people around themat work and at home, and that they engagein effective coping behaviours more-so thannon-effective ones. This suggests many FIFOworkers have within themselves resiliencecapabilities to manage the impact of theirwork arrangements on their mental healthand wellbeing. However, this research hasdemonstrated that the FIFO existence canbe challenging, and found in particular thatstress generally increased and was reportedto be at the highest levels in the days leadingup to leaving for work.The research found that FIFO workers arepredominantly unaware of and unlikely tomake use of any of the modes of mentalhealth information and services, but rather towithdraw emotionally and to ignore personalneeds.Stigma is the main barrier to help-seeking,with the principal reason workers do notreach out for assistance being the fear ofappearing to be ‘soft’, weak or unable tocope. The other main barrier is structural,being the lack of service accessibility onsiteand the lack of access to services fromremote sites, including the lack of mobilephone coverage and/or internet access.The recommendations—which are bothgeneral and targeted in nature—aim toaddress the help-seeking barriers andprovide supports to maintain and enhancethe emotional wellbeing and mental health ofthe FIFO and DIDO workforce.Fiona KalafCEO, Lifeline WA


100806040200100806040EAPUnionTalk to SupervisorOn-site Mental HealthOn-site CounsellingSelf-help ResourcesSelf Help GroupsTelephone Crisis LinesFigure 1. Percentageresponding supporttype Not Available tomy industryFigure 2. Percentageof Workers ReportingEffective CopingStrategiesKey Findings• Help-seeking: Knowledge of services andpropensity to seek help is low• Relationships: Generally positive• Coping behaviours: Most engage ineffective coping behaviours• Stress: At its highest in the days leadingup to leaving for work and its lowestupon returning home• On-boarding: Knowledge of the FIFOwork practices was low prior to jobcommencement• Benefits: High remuneration and qualitytime with family2001008060402005432Seek Friends Ignore NeedsExcerciseEatRelaxIrritableConfront the SourceSmoke or CoffeeChange PerspectiveWithdrawTime OffSleepJokeShoppingHobbyAlcoholDietPrescription MedicationPray/MeditateIgnore ProblemsAcceptanceWorryFigure 3. Percentageof Workers ReportingNon-effective CopingStrategiesFigure 4. Mean stresslevels at 9 pointsduring roster rotation,plotted by relationshipstatusRecommendations1. Develop supports that focus onincreasing help-seeking behaviour withinFIFO populations2. Develop supports that target the needsof specific groups3. Develop pre-employment supports—whatto expect from FIFO and how to cope4. Develop ongoing post-employmentsupports that reduce stigma and addressmental health literacy and coping skills5. Address organisational culture suchthat seeking help is encouraged andsupportedReport Availability1543Week beforeleaving for work2 days beforeleaving for work1 day beforeleaving for work1st dayat workSINGLEWeek afterarriving at workDay beforeleaving work1st dayback at homePARTNERED2-3 daysback at home1 week afterback at homeFigure 5. Mean stresslevels at 9 pointsduring roster rotation,plotted by parentalstatusUncover more with the full report availablefor viewing and download here:• lifelinewa.org.au• rawhire.com.au• aimwa.com21Week beforeleaving for work2 days beforeleaving for work1 day beforeleaving for work1st dayat workCHILDRENWeek afterarriving at workDay beforeleaving work1st dayback at homeNO CHILDREN2-3 daysback at home1 week afterback at home


No one needs to face their problems alone.If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, or needs help now,contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or crisischat.lifelinewa.org.au

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