Mental Health Awareness Increasing Within Oil, Gas Industry
Mindfulness-based stress management is growing in popularity across the oil and gas industry as the sector responds to a rise in mental health awareness, said Steve Smith, Robert Gordon University senior lecturer in mental health and wellbeing.
“Approaches involving mindfulness meditation are attracting increased attention as the benefits of this skills-based technique are becoming recognized,” he said.
The fall in oil price and its effect on the economic state of the industry, resulting in thousands of redundancies, has meant that stress-related conditions such as anxiety and depression have become important issues within the sector, Smith said.
“The economic uncertainty has resulted in a rise in stress-related problems, causing issues for organizations as they come to realize that the mental health of their workforce is a major asset to be protected,” he said.
“We already know that stress related illness is one of the major causes of sickness related absence in industry. Work related stress accounted for almost half (43 percent) of all days lost to the British economy in 2014/15, with 440,000 workers affected and a total of 9.9 million days lost…While every employer is aware of the need to protect employees from the effects of harmful and toxic work environments, some are coming to see the benefits of proactively protecting the mental wellbeing of their workforce too,” Smith added.
Smith is currently working with North Sea oil and gas companies as they seek new ways to proactively protect their workforce from the harmful effects of work-related stress. Mindfulness-based approaches are one of the more accessible mental health solutions used by organizations of all sizes and across all sectors, encouraging participants to focus on what is happening now as opposed to becoming engaged in thoughts of future or past events.