Fly In Fly Out Worker

Can Jessica help us in FIFO?? If you do the survey she can!!

It was a little over 12 months ago that I started to seriously believe that the One Minute Closer App concept that I had would become a reality. At the time there were 2 main reasons that I really wanted to give this a go…because I knew it would provide value to my life (and those in it) and because I just wanted to give designing and creating an app a crack.

If these were still the main 2 motivations; then tick, tick….mission accomplished. But the past 6-8 months I’ve been amazed with the reach and response that the social media posts and blog articles have attracted. And most recently the support for Sam Faiers in the World’s Greatest Shave was incredible!

Oh…and the feedback on the app has been a little overwhelming as well to be honest. I believed it would work but never expected the enthusiasm that has come with it from so many people.

My vision has always been to create an app that adds value, no matter how small, to someone else’s life; and all the other stuff was just to play a support roll. Well it turns out that everything One Minute Closer seems to be having that desired effect.

From post replies and private messages; emails to verbal discussions and even group forums; the extensive feedback suggests that the various One Minute Closer communications channels are facilitating thought and discussion among our small but growing community.

And it is this very community that has led me, in an extremely organic way, to another amazing opportunity to create some value from this thing called One Minute Closer.

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A few weeks ago while trawling through my social media news feed I came across a link to a survey for FIFO workers. Nothing really out of the ordinary at first but after I completed it I knew there was something a little different in this one.

It was based around drinking and working away. This is a topic I have experienced firsthand on previous projects and one that I believe is a real issue. I still couldn’t put my finger on why I felt this survey struck a chord with me and I couldn’t help but to let curiosity get the better of me.

I sent an email to the coordinator of the survey to thank them for the opportunity and offer any other assistance I could.

When I read the response to my note; it was hit by their enthusiasm, passion and dedication on the subject and knew we shared some common ground here….both with helping the workers / families and the industry.

The survey I completed is part of the initial quantitative research by a young Provisional Psychologist named Jessica Bell. Jessica is a student out of Curtin University who is studying her Master of Counselling Psychology degree.

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Here is the body of the email Jessica sent to me…

I think the most important thing at the moment is getting those numbers. What I need to communicate to people is how important this research is.

The research that is currently available suggests that mental health difficulties are 10% more prevalent in FIFO workers than in the general population. However, because there is not enough research to support this, stakeholders are rejecting this claim.

Furthermore, there is even less research on the prevalence of alcohol problems among the FIFO community, yet there is this a lot of commentary highlighting the existence of a ‘drinking culture’.

We are trying to really understand what it is like for workers, so that we can get the right people to acknowledge and care enough to make changes to how these issues are approached and supported.

We want people to tell us how it is for them, and not just the negatives either. I have read a lot about how beneficial the lifestyle is for many people and our research can just as easily capture the absence of mental health and alcohol problems. So in essence, I am trying to find the truth.

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I have since exchanged emails and spoken with Jessica over the phone and her voice portrays that same desire and appetite for this topic as her written words.

I have come to know that she too has been part of a FIFO family for many years. Her parents worked away through her upbringing and she also has a number of close friends currently working FIFO.

I also learned that her family share the same love for the work and the industry as I, and many others do. As I mentioned in blog entry 4, and also subsequent articles, there are reasons why we choose this lifestyle and some of the ones I discussed with Jessica have been echoed by her family.

Basically everything is big in the resources sector…you get to see, play with and be around everything big. The work is challenging, the people (for the most part) are interesting, the worksites are ever changing and the friendships you make are unique.

On the flip side, the challenges you and your family face are tough and combined with the tyranny of distance and challenges around communication; coping strategies can be less than helpful and healthy.

On a side topic, given that my sister has completed a PhD and I know how much work and dedication goes into these theses so any extra structured assistance I’m sure would be gratefully accepted.

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So, given the above, we as the One Minute Closer Community are going to try and give Jessica any help that she needs and that One Minute Closer can provide. She is working to make our industry a more sustainable one by researching, obtaining outcomes and providing direction for all our current and further colleagues and their families.

Jessica’s research Facebook page is FIFO Mental Health experiences www.facebook.com/FIFOresearch. As we all know, Facebook is an extremely efficient and effective way to seek out like-minded people and for Jessica and her work it will be a great tool so please check it, like it and keep your eyes out for updates.

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Jessica’s online survey can be found at http://bit.ly/1JoqNjC. This survey takes approx. 15 mins so please take the time out if you are a FIFO worker and complete.

I will be sharing Jessica’s updates on my news feed to help her raise awareness and please feel free to share and / or tag other like-minded workers in the survey links of others to get the word out.

I am sure Jessica and I will chat with her regularly to see if there is anything more she thinks the One Minute Closer page can help her with.

This is such a great initiative and to be could not be undertaken by a more suited individual. I’m so please that we can, in some small way, assist with this and share in the benefits this study will provide.

One Minute Closer has always been about helping to stay connected so if this blog helps Jess reach and connect with just one person for her study…then it’d worth it.

So, until the next instalment, keep safe and…well you know!!!

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