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More organizations pledge support for IADC mental health charter

Five more leading energy organizations have given their backing to an IADC charter aimed at improving the mental health of thousands of North Sea workers.

Aker Solutions, Expro, Ithaca Energy, Proserv and EY have all pledged to support the movement, which is being led by the IADC North Sea Chapter (NSC).

The companies join the likes of Borr Drilling, Dräger, Noble, Opito, the Port of Aberdeen, Step Change in Safety, Well-Safe Solutions and Wood in backing the initiative. It was launched to drive cultural change in how the energy sector approaches mental health.

The 10-point action plan has been drafted in consultation with organizations from across the energy industry, as well as psychologists, and third-sector partners, including Mental Health Aberdeen and the Cyrenians. As the charter prepares to be officially launched, NSC Chairman Darren Sutherland said it is now up to the industry to ensure the points are put into practice.

“We are proud to have been able to bring so many people together in a short space of time to get this charter launched,” Mr Sutherland said. “The groundswell of support for this initiative has been quite incredible and encouraging to see. Not only does it show how quickly we as an industry can rally when required, but it also shows how seriously the issue is being taken.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to implement a meaningful change, and I am hopeful that in decades to come, those working in our industry will look back on the changes we are looking to implement and see a marked difference in how mental health is viewed.

“This charter is part of a mental health movement that we hope will save lives, and everyone who has contributed can be proud of that. However, it is easy for people to come together and put some words down on paper. We will be judged on how we put it into practice. This charter is something that has to become part of the day-to-day workings of organizations. We have to live it, not just store it on the intranet or pin it up on the wall. How we do that is ultimately how we will make a difference.”

The text of the charter has been developed after almost 200 representatives from across the industry attended a summit in Aberdeen in April to discuss how they could create the cultural and procedural changes required to improve mental health support.

Following a consultation, the 10 points developed for the charter state signatories must:

  1. Initiate a company and industrywide cultural change
  2. Demonstrate transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting
  3. Build mental health and well-being awareness among employees
  4. Foster effective people management
  5. Encourage open conversations about mental health and well-being and provide employees with good working conditions, including a safe psychological space
  6. Provide comprehensive training
  7. Give mental health and well-being the same high priority as physical health
  8. Offer customized mental health support and guidance
  9. Routinely monitor mental health and well-being
  10. Share best practices

The expectation is that mental health will become as important a topic as the physical health of workers, with the topic becoming part of employees’ regular appraisal meetings with managers.

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

Mr Sutherland added: “The points in the charter are all about looking after each other and ensuring we stay healthy. One of the key areas we have been keen to drive home is that we can only help one another if the problem is acknowledged.

“The energy industry is a close-knit one, and one where there are large networks and friendship groups across all levels. It is important that the people in these groups feel comfortable in not only talking about their mental health, but also feel enabled to seek help, or help others find assistance.

“Poor mental health can affect any of us when we least expect it. By adhering to the points created in the charter, I would hope we can help reduce the number of people requiring assistance and improve mental health in energy. Finalizing the 10 points in the charter is only the beginning of our journey to drive cultural change in the industry and we look forward to confirming further steps in the near future.”

For further information, including how to sign up to the charter, click here.

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