Lifeline WA, in partnership with specialist vehicle hire company Raw Hire, Australian Institute of Management WA and Edith Cowan University's The Sellenger Centre, has launched a ground-breaking research study that assessed the relationship between mental health and fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in-drive-out (DIDO) work practices.
With a sample size of 924 respondents, the Lifeline WA research study is one of the largest ever in this field of research in Australia and provides valuable insights to the benefits and challenges of this relatively new and growing work practice, including the ways in which workers cope with these challenges.
The research found that FIFO workers are predominantly unaware of and unlikely to make use of any of the modes of mental health information and services, but rather to withdraw emotionally and to ignore personal needs.
Stigma is the main barrier to help-seeking, with the principal reason workers do not reach out for assistance being the fear of appearing to be "soft", weak or unable to cope. The other main barrier is structural, being the lack of service accessibility onsite and the lack of access to services from remote sites, including the lack of mobile phone coverage and/or internet access.
The recommendations aim to address the help-seeking barriers and provide supports to maintain and enhance the emotional wellbeing and mental health of the FIFO and DIDO workforce.