Offshore workers often face long trips away from home missing family and friends.
Their shift patterns and high pressure jobs can also make it difficult to feel connected to loved ones.
But one Aberdeen-based shipping firm has come up with a novel way to help staff talk to their co-workers if they’re struggling to cope.
And it’s been named ‘Fit Like?’ after the phrase north-east residents use to greet each other.
Speaking on World Mental Health Day, North Star’s QHSE manager Michelle Fowler says Fit Like? was launched to help staff feel less lonely.
“At North Star, we view mental health as central to our company policy,” she said.
“Ensuring that our on and offshore teams are listened to and there is an understanding of the pressures they face, is key to their welfare, workplace safety, and the wellbeing of the company as a whole.”
Offshore loneliness: How does the Fit Like campaign work?
North Star employees often face high-pressure situations providing 24/7 response and rescue operations to 50 North Sea oil and gas installations.
This can involve rescuing workers from oil rigs or ships.
They may be working alongside colleagues, but it’s not difficult to understand why offshore staff can struggle with loneliness out at sea.
The campaign is built upon the understanding that our difficulties with mental ill health can be experienced in many different ways.
Encouraging open conversations between co-workers is an important part of the campaign, as well as reducing the stigma of mental health.
A guide has also been created for staff to help them recognise when a colleague may be struggling with feelings of loneliness while working offshore.
It highlights how someone feeling a lack of energy or suffering concentration problems could be in need of some extra help.
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health
North Star has an open-door policy for staff to reassure them that they can speak about any problems they may have with their mental health.
“We know that, just like with any physical injury, a mental health problem needs time and patience to be resolved,” Michelle says.
“Open and honest communication is key to this.
“This is why we have designed ‘Fit Like?’ to be centred on informal discussion that removes the inherent pressure felt when talking about these subjects, whilst increasing awareness of mental health across the board.”