For people suffering with mental health issues, talking to someone they trust can make all the difference.
Research suggests that when people do reach out for help, particularly in a work environment, they are more likely to approach friends and colleagues, rather than more formal support programmes.
This is one of the reasons why Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore business introduced a peer support programme. The programme, which launched in 2012, equips employees at all levels and parts of the business to support their colleagues through difficult times.
Taurai Gusha, a mobile mining equipment fitter at Rio Tinto’s Yandicoogina iron ore mine, has been one of the business’s peer supporters for the past two years. He shares his thoughts on why mental health is important, and how we can support our family, friends and team mates.
What does your role as a peer supporter involve?
I help people around our site who are struggling with a few problems – it could be mental health issues, they may be having a down moment in their life, or it could be issues at home with their kids. It varies day to day.
As a peer supporter, I lend a listening ear and I also help people to access professional services or any other help they may need. It’s about creating a safe, confidential and trustworthy environment for people.