Mining professionals are often subject to working long hours on shift, away from home, in remote locations across the globe.  As such, they are no strangers to stress and need to take time to understand the importance of mental health. Just as our focus on asset health to keep mining equipment operating at peak performance is crucial to site productivity, it is vital that we focus on our team members’ mental health to keep us safe and operating at full capacity. 

A few weeks ago, the Mental Health Commission of Canada hosted a 2-day Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course.  Here are some of the key takeaways that the course had to offer: 

Mental Health First Aid is used to benefit those having a mental crisis.

Every day, ten Canadians lose their lives to suicide. Similar to what we traditionally think of as first aid, MHFA is a knowledge-based tool you can use to recognize, identify, and help treat a person who may be experiencing a mental health problem or crisis. Recognizing the signs of mental health problems or mental crises allows you to administer mental health first aid until appropriate professional help is received or until the crisis is resolved. 

Recognize warning signs.

Here are some of the most common warning signs that someone is experiencing a mental health problem or crisis.  Consider taking initial action if you experience or observe any of the following symptoms: 

  • Feeling very withdrawn for more than 2 weeks
  • Suddenly feeling overwhelmed for no reason 
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
  • A drastic change in mood, behaviour, or sleeping habits
  • Intense worries or fears that get in the way of day-to-day function
  • Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still

Take initial actions to administer help when needed.

If you are worried about yourself or someone you care about, begin by asking easy and gentle questions. Begin a conversation to understand what someone is experiencing and how their daily or work life is being affected by it. Making a connection is the first step to providing and getting treatment. 

The mining community is high-risk for mental health issues.

Due to the long working hours, shift work, and remote living arrangements, the mining community is at a higher risk to experience mental health crisesBeing able to identify warning signs in yourself and others is crucial to preventing a mental health crisis. Once you can recognize the signs, take some time to reflect on instances where you’ve noticed your colleagues, or even yourself, experiencing mental health issues and consider how in the future you can provide mental health first aid to those experiencing a mental health crisis in your workplace. 

We’re all in this together.

This is a tough industry in many ways. If you get the opportunity to attend a similar course, we encourage you to do so.  There is also a lot of information available on several mental health information websites and from the many mental health support groups in many countries. Removing stigmas around talking about mental health, supporting each other and improving overall mental health knowledge will make our workplaces stronger and our relationships better. 

Outliers Mining Solutions offers a wide range of mining-specific programs and services to improve mining efficiency and productivity. Learn more at