top of page
  • Writer's pictureMona Cooley

"Fly-In, Fly-Out" Oil Sands Workers MH

YYCCalgaryBusiness article Oct 29, 2021 article "Fly-IN, Fly-Out" oil sands workers face significant mental health challenges by University of Alberta on October 28, 2021

When I read the article, I was pleased that the article was stating " one of the first studies in Canada ( involving 72 Participants in the Study) to examine mental health and well-being in the fly-in, fly-out ( FIFO) working population, Dorow's research team, along with Valerie O'Leary from the non-profit organization Critical Incident Stress Management for Communities ( Fort McMurray), found that workers face inordinately stressful conditions in work camps.

Darow said: " Overall they reported worse general mental health, more work-related stress, and higher incidences of diagnosed long-term health conditions and use of mental health services than found in the general population."

Other challenges:

  • relationship strain

  • loneliness

  • stress from being away from home for extended periods

  • distance and time away from family- key stressor

  • lack of control over rotational schedules

  • poor morale in camp

  • difficulty maintaining healthy eating & self-care habits

  • sleep- challenge by many FIFO workers, especially by women

  • report of gender discrimination or sexual harassment - women more likely than men

  • 0ne in seven males reported thoughts of hurting themselves

  • distrust - workers reluctant to seeks help for health problems, including mental health issues

  • Don't trust that there is a climate of support at work

  • key stressors were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic

The above list can be broken down into 3 areas:

work-related stress, personal mental health well-being and family/relationships .

Many of you know that Family has been my area of focus for 26 years due to our family knowing how stressful the family can be affected when loved ones are stressed, struggling with mental health and the family not sure how to support them.

The family can be one area where to support and guide individuals flying in, flying out since it is a key stressor for them. Providing a perspective, insight and tools to support individual's well-being, can be the starting point of getting some relief of their anxiety, stress, frustration and having more of a capacity to manage the stresses of work and juggling work and family.

Family members struggle "how to" approach situations, take care of themselves and "how to" help their loved ones who are overwhelmed with work challenges, no work, flying in and flying out and being able to be productive at work.

Mental Health well-being is seen as a state/result of overall wellness that includes awareness and the effective use of strengths, abilities to cope and thrive. Building on and utilizing each person's unique strengths, abilities and resilience to manage life challenges and improve overall health can bring about positive outcomes. It has been proven, when families know " how to" approach difficult situations and practice using tools to having healthy, honest conversations so each person feels heard, understood and validated, negative reactions can be adverted and have less conflict.

There are tools such as The Adult Resiliency: Social, Emotional Strengths survey that is based on the adult resiliency survey and developmental frameworks, which are positive experiences, relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities that all people need to be healthy, caring and responsible.

The initial survey provides where you are at in regards to your Internal ( eg Self-Control, Self-Concept) and External ( eg. Family Support Expectations, Relationships) Resiliency Factors, Outcome Factors ( eg. Self Sufficiency, Thriving Indicators) and Core Competencies ( eg. Adaptability, Social-Emotional Intelligence). After learning the tools, practicing them for a period of time, a second Survey is completed. A comparative profile of where you were initially and where you are now, will show you the changes and what to continue developing. A visual of how you are progressing is a great motivator to continue doing the work to mental well-being and believing you/family have the capacity to transform difficult situations into positive outcomes.

Susan Jeffers says it best: "All you have to do to diminish your fear is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way".

Documentary: titled "Why Happened"

For more information for the health and well-being for families: call Mona at 403.512.5558 or email

Mona Cooley

CEO/Founder Cool Family Solutions

Family Coach - 10-week Sessions

Certified Mental Health First Aid Virtual Facilitator - next session Nov 27/28, 2021

19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Sharing Openly

Trusting someone is key to whether you can be open and share what is truly felt and thought. Being vulnerable sharing openly about what is on your mind is withheld till you feel you can trust the situ

Tip Toeing or Honesty

Have you ever tip toed around a difficult situation? You are trapped whether to say anything or do anything or leave it alone and hope it goes away. When tip toeing it tells the other person - you are


bottom of page