The CRHS research team was awarded funding through the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) for a two-stage research project, to determine the extent and impact of mental health problems and their associated factors among coal mining employees in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (QLD), and to assess the feasibility and acceptability of strategies to address mental health problems in the coal mining sector.
The initial prevalence study (phase one) involved a cross-section of employees from eight coal mine sites across NSW and QLD to examine the extent of mental health problems in coal mining employees. Eight mine sites participated across NSW (5 mines) and QLD (3 mines). Mines were chosen to ensure inclusion of both underground (5 sites) and open cut mines (3 sites), and also representation of remote access workers (fly-in/fly-out and drive-in/drive-out) and locally based workers. Employees from all occupational groups at the participating mines were invited to participate in the research.
A total of 1,457 employees participated in phase one of the research. The profile of employees in terms of age and employment category closely aligned with state-based industry figures, indicating a broadly representative sample of the industry workforce.
The second stage of the research aimed to examine the acceptability and feasibility of programs to address mental health problems in coal mining. Of those sites that participated in the initial prevalence study (phase one), four sites were selected to receive the Working Well Mental Health Program, a multicomponent mental health program, with the remaining four sites serving as control sites.
The final reports are available on the ACARP web site: http://www.acarp.com.au/abstracts.aspx?repId=C22045