In the long tradition of valuing incompetence in Safety, we have this kind of stuff (Macmahon names “The Hulk” as mental health ambassador) () parading about as if it is of some value.
I know let’s study culture and ask a chemical engineer!!!
Of course, incompetence on culture (what we do around here) is foundational in ensuring that mental health issues are only tackled at a superficial level.
One of the masquerades of tier one organisations (like this one) is putting forward a tokenistic campaign whilst at the same time brutalising people. All the evidence demonstrates that FIFO creates mental health illness, psychosocial toxicity and social dysfunction (https://safetyrisk.net/mental-health-risk-and-safety-part-2/).
Perhaps, for a start have a quick look at some reports:
Just because one has experienced mental health issues doesn’t make one expert to help others with mental health. Just because one knows how to spell the word ‘psychosocial’ doesn’t mean one has a clue about what it entails.
As long as the engineering-behaviourist worldview (https://safetyrisk.net/behavioural-safety-is-not-a-foundation-for-tackling-psychosocial-and-mental-health/) and zero ideology dominates the safety space, the result will always be brutalism of persons. And for god sake never mention ‘care ethics’.
Most of what has been circulated in Safety about ‘psychosocial hazards’ is tokenistic and endorses traditional safety mythology about psychosocial dysfunction. When one looks at the many silences in the Standard or Codes of Practice or AIHS BoK Chapter on Psychosocial ‘Hazards’, ALL that is critical to psychosocial health is omitted! None of these documents provide strategies or skill development in an ethic of care, personhood, helping or community. Indeed, just audit the language of these many documents and see what is missing.
When everything in life is made a ‘hazard’ then, the resulting strategy is the hierarchy of control. Psychosocial health is NOT about hazards. This is NOT the language of a helping profession. No-one in a helping profession would use such language – it is immature, ignorant and dangerous.
I know, let’s bring out a footballer, boxer or sports person to lecture others about mental health with no expertise in mental health!
Macmahon is a zero organisation (https://www.macmahon.com.au/news/parliamentary-inquiry-into-sexual-harassment/; https://careers.macmahon.com.au/job/Superintendent-Mining/938239810/; https://safetyrisk.net/no-help-for-mental-health-in-zero/)
Of course, if you critique any of this you are deemed anti-safety or anti-mental health. Both are used by management to validate any tokenistic program to cover for harming people. This is the ideology of zero at work (https://safetyrisk.net/how-not-to-view-mental-health-and-safety/).
When consulting (making dollars) please ensure you don’t:
- Criticise the very foundations of what creates poor mental health or psychosocial toxicity. Make sure not to mention anything of competence about mental health
- Don’t use experts in mental health and promote quick fixes for wicked problems that cannot be ‘fixed’.
- Make sure you use language like ‘mental health first’ and other glib language common to safety, to build mythology and ritual ineffectiveness about mental health.
- Make sure you use the language of contradiction to create confusion for those experiencing mental health issues.
- Use glib cheers on tiktok and social media to act as if something is being done.
- Use the language of individualism, behaviourism, fighting and ‘bounce back’ or,
- any other mythological semiotics popular in the area of mental health that ensure nothing changes and all remains the same.
- Make sure that one plays the game of appearing to tackle mental health while not doing so.
- Support FIFO, DIDO or psychosocial structures/strategies that harm people.
- Ignore research that mental illness is socially constructed and can only be addressed though social-psychological strategies (Radley, 1994, Making Sense of Illness, the Social Psychology of Health and Disease).
- Make sure the fundamental orientation towards persons as objects is not affected why whatever is done (https://safetyrisk.net/how-to-be-oriented-towards-psychosocial-and-mental-health-in-safety/).
- Ensure you use nonsense language when you talk about safety (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-as-a-mental-health-disorder-obsession/).
- Make sure that the idea of Mind is confused for brain and never discuss the embodied notion of interaffectivity or intercorporeality.
The best way to tackle the challenges of mental health and psychosocial dysfunction is to NOT do any of the above.
What could be done?
- Perhaps explore competent research-based approaches to mental health (https://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/getmedia/27e09cfa-eb88-49ac-b4d3-9669ec74c7c6/NMHC_Vision2030_ConsultationReport_March2020_1.pdf; https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Understanding-Effective-Approaches-to-Promoting-Mental-Health-and-Preventing-Mental-Illness_HealthWP97.pdf; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44249/) now that might be novel for an industry that promotes and values incompetence as a core value.
- Perhaps call out the Associations or Universities/Colleges to do something about the safety curriculum to reform its current approach to ignoring psychosocial safety.
- Perhaps move the industry to a professional approach to care, ethics and helping.
- Perhaps call out the regulators who thrive on fear and blame in safety that create toxic workplaces.
- Perhaps read something like: Mental Wellness A Holistic Approach to Mental Health and Healing by DK (2021) or, Mate (2023) The Myth of Normal
- Perhaps call out tokenism for what it is.