March 1, 2023
Mental health is our Emotional, Psychological, and Social Wellbeing, in other words, Our ‘State of Mind’. Mental health is just as important as physical health, as without either one, you cannot consider yourself healthy. The things that keep our bodies healthy also keep our minds healthy, such as, adequate rest, healthy eating, exercise, and stress management.
Mental health problems can take many forms including severe stress, depression, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, anxieties, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, bereavement, and dementia.
The Geotechnical Industry forms part of the wider Construction Industry and is a highly challenging environment to work in, particularly for those who work on site. The nature of our work can have a significant impact on mental health, making those who work in construction more likely to be affected by mental health issues.
It is considered that the wider construction industry tends to shout ‘safety’ and whisper ‘health’, and more effort should be directed to reducing the level of work-related illness. With accidents, the risks can be reduced ‘as far as is reasonably practicable’, but with health we need to make a concerted effort to eliminate the risk.
How can your organisation support those suffering from mental health issues?
The nature of the Drilling Industry creates many specific mental health risks caused by factors such as high production pressures, dangerous work, isolation from families and the tough exterior culture of the drilling industry. The demands of organisations and poor working conditions (noise, dirt, un-natural lighting and weather conditions) can exacerbate mental health problems, particularly in terms of attempting to maintain a good level of mental and physical health. These factors need to be considered to safeguard the workforces personal well-being.
Organisations need to ensure that staff are vigilant to the signs of mental health problems and that they value mental health in the same way as physical health. Prevention of poor mental health in the Drilling Industry is in the hands of leaders and managers, who must build a caring culture to combat the fear of speaking up and address their employee’s well-being.
What can the BDA do to ensure that we as an industry are taking this topic seriously?
Each individual member will have its own processes for dealing with mental health issues, however the problems we face are common to us all as drilling contractors. The BDA as an industry body, would like to see this ‘Taboo’ subject, being highlighted, openly discussed and given the due consideration it deserves through a series of communications that will be aimed at breaking the stigma across the industry and bringing a collaborative approach in dealing with Mental Health.
Proposed future topics:
We look forward to your support on this highly topical subject and evolving problem.
Author: Paul Breslin, BDA Health & Safety Sub-committee
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please consider contacting the organisations below:
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