Mental Health Women in Mining

haul truck in mining

If you are a woman working in the mining industry, you will be aware of the unique stressors of working in mining.

Fortunately, there's excellent mental health support available to men and women to help you to thrive at work!

Most mining companies provide extensive counselling coverage as part of their health care benefits packages, in recognition of the challenges workers face.

Mining is challenging work for everyone, but women may also face additional stress and pressures. The workplace can sometimes be hostile towards women in non-traditional roles.

Mental health counselling is part of your compensation package and it can become a competitive advantage for your career to take advantage of counselling and coaching.

women in mining

It seems like everywhere you go in the Elk Valley you’ll see photos of women driving haul trucks and brochures featuring engineers, environmentalists, biologists and mining managers that are women.

It’s inspiring to see women moving into roles that make good money, that require expertise and knowledge and grit – that have previously only been held by men.

These roles mean that women can support their families, put their education to good use, explore their potential and reach their dreams.

But the jobs are challenging and the working conditions can be tough. For example, there's haul truck driving. Whether you are a man or a woman this job is extreme!

haul truck driver woman

Every time I see a photo of someone driving a haul truck, which as you know, is pretty much like driving a house around from the bathroom window, it takes my breath away.

It takes a lot to navigate something that big, let alone driving it over temporary roads, with other large vehicles on them on them, in all kinds of weather and conditions.

Then add to that the pressure of expediting product delivery, worry about going too slow or fast, causing traffic to build behind you, the boredom of driving the same route over and over, and the knowledge of the huge risk of losing focus for even a moment and the life and death impact of a wreck.

There’s no one to talk to and your shift is really really long. You start the day clean and end the day dirty and physically exhausted.

But the money is good and with a 4/4 shift you have lots of days off in a row. It’s a great feeling to make a good income and have a steady job. More and more women are choosing mining as a career.

Women work as haul truck drivers, as heavy duty mechanics, plant workers, and as electricians.

professional scientist environmental woman mining

Women are also increasingly accepting professional and management roles in mining. They work as mining engineers, biologists, environmental engineers, team leaders, managers and superintendents.

The value of a diversified workforce and the benefits that women bring to the workplace are well established.

Yet mining remains an industry that is predominantly male. Less than 20% of mining employees worldwide are female, and the numbers are less in professional and management roles.

If you are a woman it can be hard to join a workforce that is predominately male. And if you are a man who is used to working in a predominately male workforce (that has been that way for centuries) it can also be very difficult to adjust to having women as coworkers.

Some coworkers are welcoming, encouraging and helpful – the worst can engage in exclusion, derision and harassment – something that company policies and laws strongly denounce – yet it still happens.

Research findings on workplace culture in the mining industry speak to an environment that is historically often not welcoming to newcomers.

There are also reports of high levels of psychological stress, mental health issues, exposure to dangerous and traumatic events, depression, anxiety, emotional exhaustion, and high levels of burnout. These issues impact everyone.

The mining industry continues to seek transformational change and promote workplace safety, respectful workplaces, and resolution of underlying issues that contribute to mental health problems.

Hopefully your workplace is providing policies, training, mentorship and support to help resolve and increase awareness of these issues.

Yet change happens slowly, and in the meantime workers are human beings who just need some help in the form of support, resources and tools to deal with mental health, relationship issues, stress, burnout, conflict management, and work life balance.

Luckily, most mining companies recognize the importance of mental wellness for all their employees.

If you work for a mining company in the Elk Valley, chances are you have excellent health care benefits to cover counselling.

You can even do counselling from the comfort of your home, vehicle (parked of course 😊), or your office. It’s easy to access, private, confidential, and effective. a private practice counselling and coaching service in the Elk Valley specializing in managing workplace stress, work life balance, anxiety and achieving life goals.