Front Burner

Loneliness, suicide, substance abuse: Mental health in Alberta's oilpatch

Today on Front Burner, an intimate look at mental health struggles among workers in Alberta’s oilpatch with the co-producer of a new documentary on the subject, Digging in the Dirt.
A combination of isolation, instability in the market, long hours and a 'very hyper masculine environment' all contribute to higher suicide rates among oil patch workers, said Omar Mouallem, co-producer of Digging in the Dirt. (Photo supplied by Omar Mouallem)

A new CBC documentary called Digging in the Dirt takes an intimate look at the mental health struggles of workers in Alberta's oilpatch. Today on Front Burner, the film's co-director and co-producer Omar Mouallem describes how he started looking into a spike in suicides after the economic downturn in 2015, only to find isolation, long hours, substance abuse and a "hyper-masculine" work environment was exacerbating mental health problems among workers even when the oil economy was booming.

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