Retrenchments take toll on workers' health

THERE has been a surge of people in crisis over job losses seeking help at Mackay Base Hospital's emergency department.

Some patients are also reluctant to take sick leave for fear of losing their jobs.

As 100 more jobs went at Newlands Mine yesterday, the hospital's Emergency Department Senior Medical Officer Dr Neale Thornton said anecdotally it seemed more patients were mentioning the recent loss of employment as being a stressful factor in their life.

The Daily Mercury sought information after hearing a doctor had attended to three people in one day who broke down in tears after their partners were retrenched.

Dr Thornton said some people presented with depression directly linked to their job loss, but more commonly they came in with a situational crisis.

"This can mean they are intoxicated or have injuries caused from intoxication or have been involved in family violence," he said.

"Other presentations can be more subtle. Someone may come in with a knee injury or pain and when you get talking they mention the underlying anxiety from recent unemployment."

The CFMEU claims about 2000 people in the Mackay region have lost their jobs in the mining sector this year.

Division of Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Services operations director Mark Scanlon said loss of employment was a significant stressful event for people and families to go through.

The anxiety level could be extremely high, he said, and it was normal to feel shocked, angry or sad, but it was important to remember you were not alone.

"A number of organisations can help you psychologically and there are other agencies who can help with practical solutions such as debt management and a way forward from your current situation."


George St Neighbourhood Centre - 4957 2626

Anglicare Mackay Whitsunday - 4953 3444

Christians Against Poverty - 1300 227 000

CASA - 4951 4299

Mackay Integrated Mental Health - 4968 3893

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