35 North Sea firms throw backing behind bid to improve workers’ mental health

Darren Sutherland

THE GROUP behind a drive to improve mental health in the North Sea today 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.

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And 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.

And 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 – 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.

For further information visit mentalhealthinenergy.com


Signatories of the Charter believe the industry can and should: 

  1. Initiate a company and industry-wide 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 customised mental health support and guidance
  9. Routinely monitor mental health and well-being
  10. Sharing best practices


The 35 organisations that have pledged to help improve the mental health of North Sea offshore workers are:

  1. AIS Survivex
  2. Aker Solutions
  3. Alvie Kerney
  4. Asset-One
  5. Atlas Professionals
  6. Borr Drilling
  7. Dräger
  8. Drillmar Resources
  9. Ernst & Young
  10. Expro
  11. EY
  12. Harbour Energy
  13. Health4Wind
  14. International Medical Management Inc.
  15. Ithaca Energy
  16. John Wood Group
  17. KCA Deutag
  18. Mearns & Gill
  19. Noble
  20. Opito
  21. P3 Business Care
  22. PD&MS Group
  23. CMC Peak Performance 
  24. Port of Aberdeen
  25. Proserv 
  26. Rig Surveys Group
  27. RMI Global Solutions
  28. Seadrill Deepwater Units Pte Ltd
  29. Seafarers Boost
  30. Step Change in Safety
  31. The REACH Group
  32. UK Chamber of Shipping
  33. Valaris
  34. Well-Safe Solutions 
  35. Wood

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