10 May 2023

Rio Tinto joins forces with RFDS for staff training

| Cape York Weekly
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EVERY Rio Tinto Weipa worker will be given free mental health education as part of a partnership between the mining company and Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Both organisations said that mental health education was important for those living and working in remote areas.

The two-hour sessions are part of Rio Tinto’s Education Days at the Weipa Sports Surge Shelter.

RFDS mental health expert Jos Middleton said initial feedback had been encouraging.

“The anonymity of the interactive presentation encourages participation. In different circumstances, people may feel uncomfortable contributing as part of a large group,” she said.

“The software also allows us to receive feedback which has been very positive, highlighting the importance of the training.

“It’s been great to see so many Rio Tinto employees engaged in the sessions.”

Ms Middleton said the training represented the realisation of a personal career goal, saying the idea of running education sessions with Rio Tinto came about during a Conquer the Corrugations walk three years ago.

“I have delivered mental health services in Cape York for around four years and have witnessed the impact of mental health problems if left untreated,” she said.

“Even one suicide is one too many. There are steps that we can take to reduce the incidence of suicide and better inform people as to the help available.

“I can’t express how satisfying it is to be provided with the opportunity to present to Rio Tinto employees about how to nourish their mental health as well as what they can do to address problems associated with poor mental health.”

Rio Tinto Weipa acting general Manager Dan Kelleher said: “Having the RFDS deliver their mental health presentation at our E-Days has provided great benefit to our employees here in Weipa.

“These are unique and challenging times and there is no greater opportunity than now to learn more about mental health, including better ways to communicate and support each other when we need someone to talk to or suspect that someone near us needs help.”

In May, the RFDS and Rio Tinto formed a partnership to help improve healthcare services across regional Queensland.

Rio Tinto pledged $1.25 million over five years as part of the deal.

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