A number of vending machines with a difference have recently been installed across various WA minesites, but instead of dispensing confectionery, chips and soft drinks, they provide essential oils, healthy snacks and sleep sprays.

It’s all to do with helping keep the FIFO workplace a healthy place to work in.

The 24/7 “wellness stations”, placed in mining camps, provides support in workplaces where mental health issues have been prevalent, and to help break the statistics of unhappiness in workplaces, schools and other communities.

They are a highly visible, self-service solution for employees to easily access a range of practical tools and products that can help improve wellbeing, general health and state of mind.

The company behind the roll-out — Perth’s Happiness Co — says the machines will be filled with a variety of self-help items.

For example, workers can push a button for an essential oil called “Man Enough” — aimed to “alleviate negative thoughts while soothing stressed out nerves, leaving you ready to chill”.

Or they can choose a variety of stress balls and mental health conversation cards with questions to ask colleagues, such as “What do you think happens after death?”, “Any strategies for temper control?” and “The worst job you have ever had to do?” are also in the Wellness Stations.

The machines are fully funded by companies at no cost to workers, and are the brainchild of wellness station founder Monique McCarthy, who believes they can play an important role alongside other health programs.

She said the stations aimed to be a complementary product that works alongside current mental health programs.

The stations will be rolled out to corporate offices, FIFO and remote site locations and community facilities – with each station being completely tailored to specific locations.

 

As opposed to the standard consumables in a vending machine, this initiative aims to shift the perception that having a busy life needs to be stressful and taxing on mental health.

The company wants to diffuse the notion of what can be currently accessed on the go, which usually takes shape in the form of unhealthy snacks and drinks.

Happiness Co also provides and collaborates with providers for the delivery of mental health and well-being programs and podcasts with options such as but not limited to:

  • Online Fitness programs and challenges
  • Happiness programs
  • Meditation and mindfulness programs
  • FIFO support programs
  • Various topic podcasts

The goal:

  • Improve the overall happiness of the end user
  • Increase the availability of tools to minimise stress and anxiety in the workplace
  • Provide affordable and alternate healthy consumables to support physical well-being
  • Make 1-1 support accessible
  • Offer programs that can be accessed online to support mental health and happiness
  • Assist organisations to further demonstrate their commitment to mitigating mental health and well-being concerns in the workplace.
  • Reduce the stigma around mental health and increase community engagement

“Although the vending machine has the sole purpose of providing on-the-go and instant tools for practising mindfulness, de-stressing and taking time to refuel healthily, we hope that it does more than this,” the company said.

“We hope that it shifts the culture of unhappiness and stress in certain workplaces and communities and makes it a culture for these communities to focus on the well-being and happiness of their staff, students and team members.”