Laurentian University’s Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) is making progress on its Mining Mental Health study, which aims to study mental health in miner’s across Vale’s Ontario operations.
As researchers with the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) prepared to launch their Mining Mental Health study, they needed about 30 workers for a pilot project to test out their survey before getting the study underway.
It was just a precursor to the actual research, but a whopping 80 workers came forward, and many were disappointed when they were told they weren’t needed, said Dr. Michel Larivière, associate director at CROSH, an initiative of Laurentian University in Sudbury.
“This told me just how far we had already gone on the issue of mental health and on the issue of being able to speak about it,” said Larivière, a keynote speaker during Workplace Safety North’s annual mining conference on April 19. “Here we had a bunch of people coming forward and saying, ‘I want to be part of the pilot study.’”
Launched in 2015, the three-year, $400,000 Mining Mental Health study is a joint initiative of Vale, the United Steelworkers and CROSH that aims to examine mental health issues in the mining industry. The work is significant, Larivière said, because little research has been done on the topic to date.
But the overall cost of mental health disability in Canada is about $50 billion annually. Time lost to short-term disability claims runs about 72 days for mental health-related issues, Larivière said. For the average-sized mining company, that roughly equates to 14,000 lost days, or 40 per cent, per year. He thinks that’s a low appraisal.
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