CHANGE: Clinton Venz spoke out.
CHANGE: Clinton Venz spoke out. Emily Smith

Movie captures changing attitudes to mental health

WATCHING mining industry colleagues speak out about their struggles with mental health sparked Clinton Venz's change in attitude.

Last year G&S Engineering released a video called "Handsup I Know Someone” where employees talked openly about their struggles with mental health, and the challenge the resource industry faced in breaking down stigmas.

It formed part of a wider #handsup mental health awareness initiative, geared at halting the rising rates of mental health conditions in the industry.

Until Mr Venz, an area manager for G&S Engineering, saw last year's video, the only advice he'd had for those struggling with mental health was to urge them to push on with life.

But the fresh insight gave him the tools to help a family member, who was struggling right at the time the video was released.

Now, he's hoping to help others do the same by speaking on G&S Engineering's sequel video called "Handsup Join us on the Journey”, released last month.

"Before I saw the video, I had a harder approach, more along the lines of 'Life's hard, you've just got to keep going',” he said.

"But (the video) gave me an understanding. Getting involved in the second (video) was was just something I wanted to do.”

While the resources sector had always been a "tough industry” he believed the change in attitudes from the wider workforce during the past year had mirrored his own.

"It's always been a tough industry. It's still got a long way to go but the conversation is heading in the right direction,” Mr Venz said.

"My family and friends have seen the second movie and they all said 'That's great!”

General manager for human resources Haley Lee also noted a change in their workforce following the release of the first video, and embarked on making the second video in an effort to capture the change.

"It's about ending the stigma. We embarked on the second video because we thought we were making a lot of headway and we wanted to capture that,” she said.

She also wanted to attribute the success of the idea to the individuals brave enough to speak out in each video.

The initiative's theme for 2016 is 'getting connected with conversations' to encourage employees to continue watching out for their mates, keep the conversations around mental health happening in the workplace and empower individuals to put their hand up and seek help, without judgement.

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