Lachie Samuel’s quest to transform the mental health culture in mining
To mark World Mental Health Day on October 10, the Australian Men’s Health Forum presents a conversation with FIFO mental health crusader Lachie Samuel.
Lachie won the Local Men’s Champion Award in the National 2021 Men’s Health Awards in June, recognising his work to address mental health among the FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) community.
He moved from South Auckland, New Zealand, to Kalgoorlie at the age of 19, but was evacuated for being suicidal in 2015, and later forced to resign because of his depression.
“I didn’t know what it was,” Lachie tells Callum MacPherson in the new Behind Men’s Health series.
Lachie started a podcast “Open Up” created and hosted two mining mental health conferences called the FIFO Mental Health Summit and Held a FIFO tour of WA, which travelled 6000km around WA delivering 36 workshops across many sites and villages.
“A lot of companies are still scared of helping people work through their shit, but some aren’t,” he says.
“Bigger mining companies are scared to spend money on mental health because they are scared of what the outcome might be. Smaller businesses 100-500 are leading the way. They are smaller, agile and can make decisions faster.”
He says his goal with FIFO is to be on site every week and to transform the mental health culture within mining, to make it mainstream.
“I think we’re on track to do that.”