Founder of EnergyMind tells ICON about his plans to address mental health in the energy industry

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TODAY marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week and to start off our week of mental health content we spoke to Mark Knights, the founder of EnergyMind.

This week EnergyMind is running a Take Ten Minutes’ initiative, which aims to encourage those working in the sector to take ten minutes to check in with a colleague, or for themselves.

Mark told ICON what sparked the campaign: “EnergyMind was launched officially in 2019 – it started really as a way for me to talk about the fact that I had been through a tough time, and when I opened up, others did too – it was a hugely cathartic experience.

“It took a long time for me to seek help, and it dawned on me that others were going through the very same thing.

“A large part of my experience would have been preventable if I’d spoken up earlier, or if someone had known to help me sooner.

“My curiosity led me to some research about mental health support available to the energy sector and I found our sector was both low on taking up resources and offering support.

“For example, I met with two of the leading mental health charities who admitted only 21 energy organisations were in contact with them – there must be hundreds if not thousands of companies that cover the 600,000 UK energy sector workforce.”

EnergyMind campaign has reached around 10,000 people so far and the charity would like to get that to nearer 100,000 this year.

About to apply to become a registered charity, EnergyMind is starting to provide a number of support services, seeking funding as well as start up supporting from volunteers who are currently working in the energy sector.

Mark continued: “Before lockdown, our four workshops gave us a very clear steer on what the industry wanted to see us provide – which included energy sector specific resources, a way of supporting businesses set up a new mental health programme and employees wanted access to support networks in their area.

“All of these things will become our priority now – and hopefully it’ll help open up more conversations both in and outside of the energy workplace.

“Ultimately the aim is to coach people through their experiences and to encourage workplaces to adapt to help prevent small issues becoming bigger ones.”

More information about EnergyMind is available here