Pandemic Affects Oil Worker Mental Health

Pandemic Affects Oil Worker Mental Health
The pandemic has had a significant impact on people's mental health in all walks of life, according to mental health charity Support in Mind Scotland.

The pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s mental health in all walks of life, and the uncertainty and anxiety it has created will doubtless have affected oil and gas workers too.

That’s according to Colin Leslie, a spokesman for mental health charity Support in Mind Scotland, who made the statement in a comment sent to Rigzone. Leslie noted that colleagues will be worried about their families, the loss of social contact with friends and loved ones, and the financial pressures that have built throughout the past year. 

Jennifer Mitchell, the director of external relations at the VSA charity, also highlighted the effect of the pandemic on oil and gas worker mental health.

“Since the start of the pandemic, thousands of oil and gas workers have lost their jobs, seen a reduction in their working hours or have been given notice of risk of redundancy,” Mitchell told Rigzone.

“The stress of coping with the pandemic, coupled with financial and job security uncertainty, has placed immense pressure on people’s mental wellbeing,” Mitchell added.

In April last year, as the pandemic was breaking out all around the world, a University of Houston-led survey of energy workers, 83 percent of which worked in oil and gas, found that 53 percent of participants said the pandemic had caused them to worry about job security. Almost four in ten were worried about paying their mortgages and other bills and just 47 percent said they were optimistic about the long-term health of the energy sector. 

Advice for Those Suffering

When asked to provide some advice for oil and gas workers suffering mentally, Leslie encouraged people to not be afraid to reach out.

“It is a well-worn but crucial phrase, but it is okay not to feel okay, so do not be afraid to reach out for help and support if or when you need it,” he said.

“Our mental health should be treated in the same way our physical health. You wouldn't think twice about seeking support for an injured leg or toothache, so why treat feelings of depression, anxiety or mental ill health any different,” he added.

“Men especially can feel it difficult to open up about their feelings and mental health, but there is compassionate expert support out there, and you should not hesitate to take that first important step and reach out for help,” Leslie continued.

Mitchell echoed Leslie’s call, urging oil and gas workers to not be afraid or ashamed to seek help and support.

“You are not alone. Speak to your employer and find out more about what wellbeing support they can offer; many employers across the industry have trained mental wellbeing first aiders or in house occupational health programs that offer good mental wellbeing support,” Mitchell said.

“There is also lots of great confidential advice, help and support available from a wide range of organizations,” Mitchell added.

“The hardest step is the first step - asking for help, and the earlier you say, ‘I’m not okay and I need help’ the better the outcomes will be,” Mitchell went on to say.

People living in Scotland can call Support in Mind Scotland’s Information Line on 0300 323 1545. The charity also has a 24/7 UK-wide online platform which can be visited here. VSA can be contacted on (0)1224 212 021. For those outside the UK, please check online for local mental health support centers.

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