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The Mindful Miner

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Josh Dagg is a plant operator at Bloomfield’s Rix’s Creek mine. However, he’s also ‘The Mindful Miner’, and on a mission to start some important conversations with children around mental health.

Josh and his partner Amy Heinzel are a couple with a passion for helping others. Whether it’s fundraising, providing a shoulder to cry on, or simply listening, they are the first to put up their hands. Because they both understand what it’s like to go through tough times.

In 2020 after a difficult separation Josh’s life turned upside down. The trauma he was subjected to led to his mental health deteriorating and life became so dark that he began to have suicidal thoughts.

“It was debilitating. I felt like I wasn’t in control of my own mind,” shared Josh. “I had always considered myself pretty resilient and confident about who I was as a person, but I couldn’t move past how I was feeling. Not only did I not have any experience with mental health issues, but I also had no skills or knowledge around them. I had never learnt how to cope. Dealing with trauma, resilience, or even just being able to express how I was feeling was something that I was never taught as a child.

“Luckily, I realised I needed help, and I reached out. It wasn’t easy but with support from psychologists, family, friends and my workplace, I got through it.”

The experience taught Josh a lot about mental health and how important it is to not bottle things up inside. The more he learnt, the more he discovered he wanted to use his newfound knowledge to help others.

“I knew I didn’t want anyone else to feel the way I did if I could help it. Knowing I didn’t have the tools to deal with trauma and having had to learn them late in life, I want to make sure our next generation learns them early, so they can deal with the issues they will ultimately face in their lives more effectively.”

Using everything they had learnt, Josh and Amy co-authored a book targeted at children called ‘Mr Mindful Joins our Class’. It was a family effort, with Josh’s mum Tracey providing the illustrations and their children also providing insights.

The book takes you through 12 key components of life, among them gratitude, adversity, resilience, mindfulness and empathy. Josh and Amy’s hope is the book will be used as a tool in classrooms to start important conversations with children that will then lead on to workshops where they can learn and practice the skills.

Amy is a SLSO teacher, and she delivered the book to her Year 3 and Year 4 classes. The result was exactly what they had been hoping for.

“I couldn’t believe how engaged and interactive the students were. It simply amazed me how much it impacted them and got them talking. It’s rewarding to help them understanding these concepts at their young age and knowing it will help with their development and make them more resilient in the future,” said Amy.

While the book is targeted at children specifically between the ages 8 to 12, having read the book myself I firmly believe that whatever age you are you can benefit from the lessons it instils.

To purchase the $10 book head to the website www.themindfulminer-minefulness.com All proceeds are donated to HEADSPACE

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