Whyalla operations branch out with mental health initiative
17 July 2023
SIMEC Mining has installed a very real reminder in Whyalla about mental health and our need to have conversations about this important wellbeing issue.
Our Whyalla iron ore mining operation has teamed up with the Blue Tree Project to put in place its very own ‘blue tree’ on the Lincoln Highway between Whyalla and Cowell.
Employees travelling to and from work, and the general community, now have a visible reminder at the entrance to the site about the importance of having that ‘it’s OK to not be OK’ discussion with workmates, family and friends.
The Blue Tree Project helps spark that difficult conversation and encourages people to speak up when battling mental health concerns. It has flourished into a charity helping change the way we talk about mental health with the blue trees now dotted across Australia and other parts of the world, acting as beacons of hope and conversation starters.
SIMEC Mining Iron Ore Executive General Manager, Jacqui Higgins paid tribute to the safety team, led by Steve Player and Frank Castle with support from Senior Environmental Advisor Richard Mason and Meg Ford (Manager Magnetite Processing) and her team, for the idea and the logistics of putting the tree in place.
“This initiative and the blue coloured tree will help to encourage conversations in the workplace to continue to break down the stigma attached to mental health issues,” Jacqui said.
“So when you see the tree, or think about mental health issues at any time during the day or night at work or at home, don’t be afraid to have that conversation that it’s OK to not be OK.”
The SIMEC Safety Team worked with the Environment Team to select the tree and relocate it with the help of local contractors CBCH (crane hire) in Whyalla. There are now plans for another tree at the Pellet Plant.
“While health and wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility, this was truly owned and driven by the SIMEC Mining safety team,” Jacqui said.
“It was a big mission to find, transplant and paint this tree so it now sits in a prominent position so people travelling to site can see it before they start their workday.”
“It adds to our commitment to workplace safety, health and wellbeing programs such as our Be GFG Safe and I Am Here programs.
Main image: The blue tree at Whyalla is lifted into place.
Read more about the Blue Tree Project here.