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Coping With COVID-19

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Australians have copped a lot during 2020 including the pandemic we are currently facing, which is why it’s important to remember we are stronger together.

Let’s be honest, isolation is sending us all a little bit loopy. We can no longer pop down to the pub for a beer, we can’t have a backyard barbie with our mates, and we can’t head to the gym. It’s a time that impacts us all in some way or another. Whilst we should always make our mental and physical health one of our top priorities, this is a time to truly focus on our wellbeing and practice self-care.

It’s affecting ourselves, our mates, our families and the communities that we belong to and in many different ways. After chatting with a number of people from a range of businesses and industries, it became clear that there were many different emotions running through the minds of people in the mining industry and wider community.

I’m sure you’re familiar with MATES in Mining, an organisation close to the hearts of us here @ The Coalface. MIM has worked hard over the years to reduce suicide rates in both the construction and mining industries by educating and informing through toolbox talks and programs and providing a support network of communication and access to passionate field officers and mates.

Field Officer Vincent Borg, from MATES in Mining

The case managers and field staff at MIM are there to listen, help and assist. But it’s more than that. These passionate, devoted and committed individuals are here to make a difference and the results throughout the industry proves that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Is what you’re feeling normal? Absolutely. Everyone is different and everyone has different coping mechanisms for different situations. It’s normal to feel different emotions and so I had a yarn to Field Officer Vincent Borg, from MATES in Mining (MIM) to see what we can do to help, and what you can do to remain positive. 

“I just wanted to take the opportunity to check in with you during these rather unprecedented times. COVID-19 has brought rapid and significant changes to our day-to-day lives and MATES recognises the potential impact this can have on the mental health of workers in the mining industry,” said Vincent.

“While various training activities and our access to some sites might be limited in the coming period due to COVID-19, we want to assure you MATES in Mining is still very active and is here for you. We will be working hard during this time to remain as connected as possible with you and your workforce. This will predominantly be via phone, email and social media.”

Whilst MATES has put in huge work to support industries and individuals during these unsure times, Vincent also wanted to emphasise that just because COVID-19 is here is doesn’t mean we can put our other problems and stresses on the shelf. 

We still experience the common life issues, problems and crises that happen to normal people living normal lives from the moment we are born. Breakups, anxiety, financial issues, loss, depression, workplace bullying, surviving disabilities, lack of motivation and anything else that might arise – they still need to be addressed and managed, even with the added stresses of isolation.

This can be overwhelming, but the key to maintaining your wellbeing during the pandemic, following the pandemic and in the future is balance. You might be wondering how you could possibly manage this. The answer – STAY CONNECTED. That’s where organisations like MATES in Mining, Beyond Blue, Headspace and Black Dog Institute can help. These organisations are available 24/7 and understand how overwhelming finding a balance during this time can be.

For our mining and construction industries MATES have a 24/7 national help line and case management services, Facebook page, website and an array of online support services available if you need to reach out. 

MATES have also put together some posters available online with some great tips and support. These can be printed and put around the workplace, sent to colleagues via email or shared on social medias to share the message that we are all in this together.

“In terms of site visits (i.e. for Connector refreshers and general support visits etc), we will be guided by you in relation to your current workplace policies and of course we will adhere to all directives from the relevant health authorities,” Vincent added.

Miners are essentials, they are still working hard, and they are working with new COVID-19 guidelines. All of us here @ The Coalface, our friends and our community are grateful and proud for the hard work we continue to see in our industry. Stay safe, stay healthy and keep mentally and physically active. Don’t be weak to speak.

COVID-19 has driven many members of the community to contact us with not only ideas to improve health and wellbeing during our current situation, but also stories of people in our community experiencing a number of issues with or without COVID-19.

We’re stronger together. Reach out, keep an eye on your mates and stay positive. 

MATES IN MINING TOP TIPS TO COPE WITH COVID-19

CONNECTION 
Social distancing does NOT mean social isolation. In these times some people will naturally be anxious. Contacting people in whatever way is appropriate (online, phone, over the fence, etc) is an important way to say we are stronger when we stay connected.

WHAT’S NORMAL
It is normal to have a range of emotions – sad, angry, confused, scared. Using skills that got through tough times previously may also be useful. Talking to your mates can help.

SELF-ISOLATED AT HOME 
If you must stay home, stay healthy – eat well, sleep, keep up some exercise, keep up some exercise, keep your social contacts with friends, workmates and family on the phone or online, do some gardening or yard work, read, create something new. Try to avoid excessive use of alcohol of other drugs.

FACT OR FICTION
Get the facts. Be aware that everything you hear or read about the virus may not be true. Stay up to date from a trusted source like health.gov.au.

LIMIT YOUR WORRIES
Spend less time listening and watching media coverage if you find this upsetting. Focus on an activity that gives you energy and life.

OVERWHELMED
If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to a mate, ring MATES on 1300 642 111 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. Helping your mate to talk to someone works. Talking with someone can help.

STRONGER TOGETHER
Remember Mates are Stronger Together. Helping your mates to talk to someone works.
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