A new inspector to focus on mental health and wellbeing has been appointed by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP).
Amy Douglas-Martens is DMP’s first Mental Health and Wellbeing Inspector of Mines. She is a registered psychologist and will work as part of the mines inspectorate team.
Ms. Douglas-Martens will actively take part in the development of safety and health protocols designed to protect mental health and wellbeing, as well as physical safety.
“I am excited about joining the inspection team and determining how we can work together, and with industry, to improve mental health and wellbeing across the resources sector,” she said.
“There will definitely be challenges, but I am optimistic about the progress that is currently underway and feel privileged to be a part of it.
“Our long-term goal is not only to give operators and their employees the necessary tools to manage mental health and the associated risks but also to increase their confidence in putting the tools into action.”
Ms. Douglas-Martens said saturation of information makes it difficult for operators to apply learnings to their health and safety plan.
“One requirement is to make this information more accessible for the people who are developing workplace health and safety plans and support in deciding where to begin,” she said.
“While our focus is on the mining and extractive resources industries directly, any good work that we do in this area represents a real opportunity to impact positively on the mental health and lives of the broader WA community as well.”
A new graduate officer, Tyler van der Merwe, who specializes in mental health and wellbeing joined DMP in January this year. Ms van der Merwe said that stigma still seems to be the top reason why people do not seek help. She aims to influence change on this.
“As a graduate, it’s exciting to be working for the department during a period of change, there is lots of work happening behind the scenes to consolidate the information that is available to operators,” she said.
State Mining Engineer and Director Mines Safety, Andrew Chaplyn the two new recruits will play important roles.
“Amy and Tyler add significant capacity to Resources Safety to help us identify and address issues associated with mental health and wellbeing in the sector,” he said.