Former Pilbara leader welcomes FIFO mental health budget plans
Former psychologist and outgoing Shire of East Pilbara president Lynne Craigie has welcomed Federal Budget incentives targeting the mental health needs of fly-in, fly-out workers.
The 2021-22 Budget included $2.3 billion for mental health and suicide prevention measures including an extra $278 million over four years for headspace, with the mental health of FIFO workers expected to be a priority.
In 2014 the State conducted an inquiry into FIFO mental health to assess factors contributing to mental illness and suicide among industry employees.
As part of the inquiry, the City of Karratha submitted a report which concluded FIFO workers faced significant mental health challenges and “immediate and effective” action was required.
City recommendations included greater access to support services, improvement of tele-communications, and addressing the “macho” culture of the resources sector.
It also outlined a need to alleviate the “strain” experienced by FIFO families as a result of the pressures of FIFO practices.
Ms Craigie said the money was essential to address mental health outcomes in the Pilbara, and suggested the money could be used to fund short stays for FIFO families.
“Bring some families up, if not permanently, use some of that FIFO mental health money to actually bring families up here for short stays to have a look at what it could be like if you chose to come and live in the Pilbara,” she said.
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