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Maersk Training forms partnership with VSA to battle mental health issues in the workplace

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28 January 2021

Headquartered in Aberdeen, Maersk Training in the UK (Maersk Training) has announced a commercial partnership with North-east social care charity, VSA, to help support mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Mental health conditions affect more than one in three people in Scotland, becoming one of the most talked about health issues in today’s society. With the cases on the rise amidst the pandemic, it has never been more important to address it.

After gaining feedback from clients regarding a lack of mental health first aid courses available in Aberdeen, Maersk Training took the decision to gain accreditation from one of the UK’s largest awarding bodies for two courses: ‘Understanding Mental Health in the Workplace’ and ‘Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace’. Both are regulated and nationally recognised courses, specifically designed to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms associated with common mental health conditions related to the workplace, and advise how best to offer support and guidance to colleagues.

The accreditation process was spearheaded by Maersk Training’s UK Deputy Operations Manager, Stuart Morrice, who has been actively involved in mental health first aid for more than 15 years within the military and the private security sector.

Stuart Morrice commented: "These courses are ideal for anyone taking an active role in supporting mental health in the workplace, such as mental health champions/first aiders, HR, managers, supervisors, and team leaders. The courses will allow candidates to raise their awareness of mental health in a work environment, and build on their existing interpersonal skills such as active and non-judgmental listening, support and guidance to those experiencing poor mental wellbeing.

"The main focus areas of the courses are to raise delegates’ awareness of the signs and symptoms associated with mental health problems related to the workplace, being able to actively listen as well as feel confident to have conversations with colleagues suffering potential mental ill-health and directing them to a reliable source of support.”

Approximately half of the course cost per delegate will be donated directly back to VSA to help towards the charity’s campaign to transform mental health care in Aberdeen. The charity plans to open a purpose build facility in the city centre later this year to help adults on their journey to recovery.

The new unit will support people using one of VSA’s highly regarded mental health support techniques known as the recovery model. Many people who have the experience of using mental health services are used to having things done to them or for them, however, the VSA recovery model is about empowering the individuals to take control of their lives and understand how to live with their condition. The recovery model encourages individuals to make goals such as developing a new hobby or going out on a social activity. VSA works with individuals on a plan to help them achieve their goals, believing that each person’s journey is unique to them and should be done at their own pace while VSA supports them through this process.

Maersk Training UK Head of Commercial, Scott Taylor, said: "The pandemic has changed a lot for everyone, personally and in business, and with uncertain times still ahead in the oil and gas and energy sectors, it’s crucial that we are looking out for our peers more than ever.

"Being able to support a local cause whilst running these courses was very important to Maersk Training, VSA’s drive to promote positive mental health locally is exceptional, and I hope that the courses offer a solace for employers and employees alike.”

Chief Executive at VSA, Kenneth Simpson, said: "This is undoubtedly one of the most challenging periods any of us have had to face, but for many people already living with a mental health condition, it is starting to have a profound effect. This is why our new mental wellbeing facility is needed more than ever to help support some of the most vulnerable people living in Aberdeen.

"We can’t thank Maersk Training enough for this fantastic partnership opportunity and for helping us support people from across the North-east living with a mental health condition.”