New Mental Health Charter to Benefit North Sea Workers in the Energy Industry

February 9, 2024

New Mental Health Charter to Benefit North Sea Workers in the Energy Industry

“The work we are doing is about coming together as human beings to allow us to do business better by creating improved working environments for our people, not at the expense of them.” Darren Sutherland, Chair of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC)

A new mental health charter is being developed to help improve the working conditions for North Sea workers in the energy industry. It is titled ‘Changing minds: saving lives’ and can be read here:  IADC Whitepaper V1.6 Mar1023.pdf

The charter acknowledges the significant mental health issues facing North Sea workers, and sets out to tackle them head on. Over 150 representatives of the industry teamed up to develop the charter after research revealed that many of the younger workers believe their employers do not take mental health as seriously as physical health. This research also showed that nearly a third of the workers were clinically depressed, and over a third of them struggle to sleep well.

The new IADC charter aims to ensure organisations go beyond minimum care provision, and it emphasises the importance of mental health care as a priority for the industry. The chair of IADC, Darren Sutherland, believes there is a desire for meaningful and lasting change. He hopes companies will show their support and sign the charter. Darren stated;

“The response has been phenomenal and to have so many stakeholders determined to play a part in improving the mental health support available to energy workers, both offshore and onshore, is heartening.”

The charter notes that the working conditions for offshore workers may have inadvertently contributed to the problem. Things such as the confined living and working spaces, the separation from family and community, and the rotational work patterns.

The charter was contributed to by operators, contractors, psychologists and third sector organisations. It aims to provide a framework to improve the mental health and safety of workers across the industry, detailing explicit actions, processes and improvements for all charter signatories to follow.

“Hopefully by Mental Health Awareness Week next year, we will have the majority of the North Sea companies, not only signed up to the charter, but abiding by its objectives.” Darren Sutherland.

You can find out more about the charter from the IADC website: 

For more information see:

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, you can call 116 123 and talk to Samaritans  (, or email for a reply within 24 hours.

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