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35 North Sea firms back bid to improve workers’ mental health

Published by , Deputy Editor
Oilfield Technology,

The group behind a drive to improve mental health in the North Sea has praised the response to its call to arms after a further 29 organisations signed up to its mental health and well-being charter.

A total of 35 companies who work in the UK Continental Shelf have pledged to protect and improve conditions for workers by introducing the Mental Health and Well-being Charter.

Darren Sutherland, Chair of the North Sea Chapter of the International Association of Drilling Contractors, the group leading the Mental Health in Energy taskforce, said the backing of the industry was critical to the Charter being successful.

He said: “The continued input and active support across the industry gives us the confidence and determination that this will be a success.”

“We have already had constructive discussions with organisations across the sector, and almost 200 people from operators, contractors, mental health professionals and third sector organisations were consulted during the drafting of the Charter.”

“It is extremely gratifying to have more companies sign up to the initiative, and it shows it is something that is not only needed, but also something that is being embraced.”

“We are challenging the status quo in the industry and providing support to companies that will help them improve their approach to mental health and change the lives of colleagues.”

Several sub-groups have been established within the steering group to look at how to achieve the strongest impact, including charter activation and peer review and academia which will look at understanding member needs and connecting with academic institutions to ensure wider penetration.

In a further boost, the initiative has also received the backing of global drilling services provider Valaris, which has donated £10 000 to the cause.

Jools Coghill, Manager of Operations at Valaris, said: "There can be very few companies or individuals who have worked in the industry that have not been impacted by the enormity of mental health issues and many that have experienced the tragedy of suicide.”

“We applaud the lead taken on this issue by the IADC and are pleased to support the drive for change. As an industry, we have to do much more to support our colleagues' wellbeing, and we are hopeful this donation will help achieve that."

Darren added, “The backing of organisations such as Valaris cannot be understated. The problem is an industry-wide one, and it is important we all come together to help solve it, and that has been exemplified by Valaris donating this money.”

The development of the 10-point charter follows the publication of a report from the IADC, ‘Changing Minds: Saving Lives,’ which urged a new approach to mental health in the North Sea.

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