International SOS strengthens resilience with appointment of mental health head

Source: press release, 28 August 2020

International SOS head of mental health, Carolyn Taylor
International SOS head of mental health, Carolyn Taylor (photo: International SOS)

International SOS has appointed Carolyn Taylor as head of mental health, resilience and wellbeing to strengthen its expertise in this field, which is an increasing issue for the offshore energy workforce.

Following significant investment into their mental health treatment and services, the global healthcare provider has appointed Taylor, who has almost three decades of experience in mental health, resilience and awareness training, as well as psychotherapy, for the energy sector.

International SOS’ research reveals that one in four energy sector workers seek medical assistance for mental health related issues. Taylor’s role will be invaluable in helping clients and their workforce improve the mental health and wellbeing of their employees.

Taylor is highly experienced in counselling, trauma support and education and will bring a wealth of knowledge on the issues effecting mental health in the industry to this new strategic role.

Based at International SOS’ office and clinic in Aberdeen, Taylor will build a team of psychotherapists and trainers dedicated to prevention, treatment, and education around mental health. This includes providing mental health support to employees of clients who may be suffering with a mental health disorder or have recently experienced trauma.

Taylor has 20 years’ experience of operating her own mental health consultancy business, Offshore Resilience Limited, which promoted prioritisation of worker mental health and trauma support.

She says, “Following on from my career in the NHS, culminating as a nurse manager in an Intensive Care Unit, I dedicated the latter part of my career to building mental health resilience and resources, primarily in the energy sector. The impact that mental health has on everyone is starting to be recognised in ways it never has before, and I look forward to continuing to enhance the range of support International SOS can provide to clients.”

International SOS’ team of psychotherapists will provide a range of therapies for energy workers including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) to help workers to process trauma both related to or from out with their workplace.

They will be working both onshore and offshore to provide regular counselling, psychotherapy and reactive trauma support as well as education on the causes and preventative measures of mental health disorders to improve workforce wellbeing.

“Education is an extremely important part of our role as occupational psychotherapists and trainers. Not only the education of individual employees on what can affect their mental health, from daily stresses to traumatic situations, but also the education of management teams on the role they play in promoting mental health awareness and creating a safe environment for their workers to seek help.”

Operating in an industry where health and safety is paramount, International SOS recognises that mental health has a significant impact on physical health and workers’ abilities to safely conduct their work.

As a result of this, the occupational health consultancy has invested significantly in mental health. This has included the roll-out of an accredited mental health first aid course for all offshore medics, as well as for of its clients’ employees. International SOS is also fully equipped to provide trauma support in the form of Trauma Risk Management (TRiM), both offshore and onshore, in response to an emergency situation.

International SOS’s mental health team has also been working with clients on their return to work strategies as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

Taylor adds, “As we move towards re-opening offices and returning to something close to our previous routines, everyone will react differently. Some will be just fine walking back into their office environments and it may in fact improve their mental health. But we cannot underestimate the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. There will be those who struggle to return to the workplace, and we are here to help and advise clients on supporting their staff with this.”