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Portsmouth port makes mental health a priority

Signing the mental health pledge

World Mental Health Day, which sets out to make mental health and wellbeing a global priority for all, also coincides with the start of Maritime UK Week and is an opportunity for Portsmouth International Port to show it cares and supports staff wellbeing. As part of the week’s activities highlighting the importance of the maritime industry, the port signed the Maritime UK Mental Health Pledge and launched their internal Mental Health & Wellbeing strategy. By becoming a signatory, the port has publicly committed to improving the quality of mental health and wellbeing through action and support at all levels throughout the organisation.

Head of compliance, Chris Hatter and Lee Benfield, security supervisor and one of the port’s wellbeing champions, attended the roundtable along with port director Mike Sellers.

Lee Benfield has been an integral part of implementing the strategy which has been created over the last two years, driving it forward as a priority for the business. He said “After my own experiences with poor mental health, I know that they can make everyday life difficult, just as much as physical health issues can. I am really pleased that the port, which I have proudly been a part of for over 25 years, has pushed this plan forward and encouraged people to talk about their mental health. Small things matter, such as making up the time to really talk to your workmates, and not using the old cliches to just ‘man up’.”

Chris Hatter, head of compliance said: “The stigma around mental health is something that needs to be broken down within the maritime industry and we need to show as an organisation that staff know we care. There’s an appetite to support initiatives to help improve wellbeing, when the opportunity came about for staff to train as mental health first aiders the take up was high. Knowing people are willing to share their experiences and challenges encourages us to spread the word, with our own team of wellbeing champions being created for staff to speak to confidentially and find out what services are available.”

Portsmouth will be hosting and attending a number of events in celebration of Maritime UK week, culminating in the ports first ever community open day on Saturday 15 October.