Mates In Energy is designed to boost awareness of mental illness, strip away the fear, ignorance and stigma which can make people reluctant to seek help, and to tackle suicide, the leading cause of death among Australians aged 15-44.

Every employee will have the opportunity to take part in the 90-minute Mates In Energy training, and people can then choose to volunteer to extend their skills, knowledge and support capability through more intensive training. The goal is a powerful network of peer-to-peer support throughout the organisation, creating a more mentally healthy workplace, homes and communities.

Why workplaces matter

CEO David Smales said workplaces had a critical role to play in fostering better mental health and resilience. “Mental health issues don’t get put on hold when people leave their homes, and the reality is that people spend so much of their lives at work,” he said.

“While I wish Mates In Energy wasn’t needed, it is. I am immensely proud of this industry-first program that recognises that we can do better in supporting people who are experiencing a mental health concern or crisis, and shows us a clear way forward.”

In a powerful personal post on LinkedIn, David Smales argued the case for mental health investment by all businesses, and invited any organisations interested in the work happening at Ergon and Energex to get in touch.

Photo of Mates In Energy Launch

Eddie Burrell, Energy Minister Mark Bailey, Willie George, and CEO David Smales are among the many strong supporters of Mates In Energy.

The bigger picture

Energy Minister Mark Bailey is also a supporter of Mates In Energy, which has the backing of employees, industry partners and mental health professionals. “Valuing our communities and our people means we collectively value our mental wellbeing just as much as physical safety,” he said. “As a community, we need to understand and address mental illness with compassion and common sense, and Mates In Energy is a step along this path.”

Mates In Energy was developed specifically for our sector in conjunction with our program partner Mates In Construction, which will work with us to deliver the face-to-face training.

The training will be progressively rolled out to all of our people into 2018. It is the latest in a raft of initiatives designed to improve mental health functioning, awareness and support, including the recent appointment of dedicated Mental Health Advocates from within the business and specialised leader training.