Fifty years ago, Offshore Europe first came to Aberdeen, and this month, the world renowned exhibition and conference marks its special 50th birthday.
In some respects, 50 years does not seem that long ago, yet our way of life has drastically changed, as has the landscape of mental health.
What was once a topic shrouded in stigma and silence has gradually emerged from the shadows, giving rise to what far more recently has become a more open and compassionate dialogue. It is clear significant strides have been made, however there is still work to be done to stamp out any associated stigma and safeguard the mental wellbeing of individuals worldwide.
One notable shift has been the growing recognition that mental health is not solely about addressing disorders but also about fostering resilience and emotional intelligence and stability. Schools, workplaces, and communities are beginning to prioritise mental health education, equipping individuals with the tools to navigate life’s challenges. This shift has been further amplified by advancements in technology, which have made information and support more accessible than ever before.
However, the changing landscape of mental health also highlights ongoing challenges, as well as the need to provide a safe environment to open up about personal struggles and accessing talking support. This can be amplified when offshore, where feelings of isolation, overwhelm and sadness are common. Yet measures to introduce easy access support can literally be life saving.
The IADC recently launched the Mental Health in Energy Charter following an educational and interactive event, which brought together an array of industry leaders, suppliers, charities, as well as those providing talking support, all of which gave insights and suggestions as to what could help drive positive change. It is a positive step to improving the wellbeing of thousands onshore and offshore workers, to drive cultural change, and make a measurable impact to lives now and in the future.
Safeguarding mental health requires a multi-pronged approach, and we all have a part to play in this. Creating spaces where individuals can share their experiences, seek guidance, and find solace can foster a sense of belonging. We all can help to make this happen, including stamping out stigma and unhealthy attitudes towards mental health.
It’s time to elevate Mental Health in what we do within the energy industry. We are already seeing this through the new charter but let us not rest on our laurels; there’s always more we can do.
Just as the energy industry has evolved and Offshore Europe has played a central role in bringing all together to share, educate and inspire, let’s ensure we never lose sight on the importance of our people, and safeguarding mental health and wellbeing.