Australia understands how healthy minds lead to healthy mines

As part of its well-being strategy, AngloGold Ashanti Australia partnered with Strong Minds Strong Mines (SMSM) to provide a range of well-being initiatives for all Australia region employees in 2021.

SMSM is a partnership between not-for-profit group Rural & Remote Mental Health, and mental health and physical fitness ambassador Soa Palelei. The programme, which was launched in late 2020 and rolled out over a 13-month period, was developed specifically for the mining industry and forms an important part of AngloGold Ashanti Australia’s “Wellbeing@AGAA” strategy.

SMSM’s approach to well-being in business is comprehensive, and focuses as much on the physical health of employees as it does on their mental health. SMSM research suggests that half of all Australian men and women experience some form of mental illness during their lives. In the mining and resources sector specifically, this figure is one in three.

Part of the SMSM programme included the introduction of well-being champions. These individuals included 140 volunteers from within AngloGold Ashanti Australia, and the Company’s alliance partners and contractors.

The champions helped to deliver SMSM presentations and were points of contact for those working at Sunrise Dam, Tropicana or in the Perth regional office. They not only encouraged and supported physical and mental well-being across the workforce, but also helped to run diversity and inclusion initiatives. Proper training and support was provided to all well-being champions.

The key elements of the programme included:

  • A series of presentations by well-being ambassador Soa Palelei and Rural & Remote Health Services Specialist Tracey Inglis
  • A suite of 13 toolbox presentations
  • Training workshops and guides for well-being champions
  • Individual pocket size booklets that provide key reference information, supported by posters and flyers on notice boards
  • Surveys and evaluations
  • A customised app providing exercise plans and healthy eating information

These elements were delivered to large groups both on mine sites and at the Perth regional office. The initial presentation involved 57 sessions delivered to more than 1,500 people. Well-being champions delivered the remaining sessions to smaller groups on topics that included stigma, depression, anxiety, drugs, alcohol, destructive thinking, post-traumatic stress disorder, relationships and financial stress.