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  • FIFO Mental Health: You have a responsibility!
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There is a new ‘Working Away Alcohol and Drug Support Line’ that offers free counselling and support services for FIFO workers and their partners. It has been launched by the Mental Health Commission in response to the recent increase in FIFO suicides as well as the release of the Parliamentary Inquiry’s report on the impact of FIFO work practices on mental health. The report calls for a new code of practice and has found suicide to be a ‘workplace hazard’ for FIFO workers. The number for the Support Line is 1800 721 997 and they can also be contacted via email

The hotline, which I had the pleasure to visit recently, has been applauded by some of the big names in mining and we agree that every little bit helps. I also believe it is important to have a prevention strategy and this starts with the companies. Workers need a mechanism to speak with trained professionals before they have turned to substance abuse, not after. What we would like to see is the companies taking the Inquiry’s report on board and start implementing the recommendations.

Drug and alcohol abuse can often be seen as a method of coping with stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. There are many other proactive ways of coping with mental health issues before they escalate to substance abuse.

Having worked with many FIFO workers and their families, Acorn Life Path has come to realise that there are three pillars of success when it comes to living a happy and successful FIFO lifestyle. These are as follows:

1. Healthy Finances – Financial stress is one of the root causes of relationship issues, anxiety and depression and so it is important to know how to manage your finances well. Here’s some of our recommendations:

  • Pay yourself first – put ten per cent of everything you earn into a savings account that you never touch. Bills, rent/mortgage payments and everything else comes second because you are the most important person in your life, bar none!
  • Understand your expenses – know what your average living expenses are in terms of bills, groceries, mortgage payments etc. and make sure you have at least three months’ worth of these basic expenses put aside in a separate account. Don’t spend unnecessarily until you know these living expenses are covered.
  • Get involved – in many relationships there is one partner who mostly deals with the finances. Although this is normal, it is important to communicate with your partner about money. Decide together how you will manage your money and have some money allocated as “his” and “her” spending money. This leads us to the next pillar of success…

2. Strong Relationships – relationship issues are a big contributor to mental illness, so make sure you are looking after your relationship:

  • Communication is key – it is really important to talk with your partner about how you are feeling if you are unhappy at work. They will support you and be there for you when you need them.

3. A Plan for the Future – you don’t have to work FIFO forever if that’s not in your plans. Many people with depression do not believe in a better future and often feel hopeless or helpless. However, having a plan for the future helps to solidify the fact that things will improve even if things aren’t going to plan.

  • Take a moment to write down some goals that you would like to achieve in the next six months, in the next year, in the next five years, and keep going! Long term goals are often hard to envision, but having a rough idea is a good starting point.
  • Once you have some goals written down, think about the steps you need to take to achieve them. Having a clear plan and knowing some of the steps to achieving these steps will help.

If you would like to hear more about the three pillars of success then please join us at one of our regular free FIFO Financial Education Sessions and meet other like-minded people.

Click here for more information and to book in your free spot.



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