Mackay miner launches mental health movement for industry
WORKING out at the mines can be tough, lonely and isolating.
But a Mackay coal miner wants to change that through a new mental health movement.
James Quartermaine has launched a new brand to help break down the stigma around mental health, an issue he says is prevalent in the mining industry.
"When you're out there on the site, it gets pretty lonely," the Bowen Basin miner said.
"There's a lot of people out there, but no one communicates."
Known as Mineset, Mr Quartermaine's mental health movement involves sharing the stories of other miners on the brand's social media platforms.
Mineset is still in its early days, but there are plans in the pipeline to expand the movement to events, merchandise and on-the-ground support for miners.
"Eventually, we want to send men out to mine sites to start chats in pre-start meetings," Mr Quartermaine said.
"We all live in little rooms and you don't even know who your neighbour is half the time.
"When we're at site, we literally get given a phone number of a (helpline) to speak to if you're having problems at home
"I know a few people who use it, but there's no connection or face-to-face interaction."
Mr Quartermaine's own struggles prompted him to start Mineset to help those going through a similar situation.
After dealing with a relationship breakdown while out at the mines several years ago, he can now recognise the signs that someone might need help.
"It's a tough, macho-man mentality out there," Mr Quartermaine said.
"Your mate could be having dramas with his missus and you don't realise that's why he is cranky at work.
"He has got problems at home but he doesn't talk about it, so no one knows."
He said the best advice for approaching the situation was to simply "start the chat and don't be shy".
"You work with these guys for half your life and some of them don't even talk to the bloke next to them," Mr Quartermaine said.
"One conversation can save your mate's life or your own life."
You can connect with Mineset on Facebook here or via Instagram at mineset.aus
If you or anyone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.