PD Ports holds successful Mental Health Awareness week

PD Ports offices in Middlesbrough. Photograph: Stuart Boulton.
Tees Business Digital Media Pack

As a year that has brought many personal and professional challenges, PD Ports has taken time to reflect and place a renewed focus on identifying the signs and symptoms mental health issues and their solutions. 

Directly employing more than 1,280 people nationwide, PD Ports prides itself on its commitment to its people and their physical and mental wellbeing and launched a week of initiatives designed to open up a conversation and challenge the stigma around mental health.  

After previously introducing mental health first aiders, as well as implementing a confidential employee assistance phone line, the awareness week was the latest step in an ongoing journey of raising awareness. 

“This has been a hugely challenging year, with Covid-19 still affecting how we live, work, socialise and go about our general daily routines,” said Frans Calje, PD Ports’ CEO. 

“One in every four people experience some form of mental health issues and, as the pandemic continued and indeed a second lockdown ensued, we felt it was the right time to elevate the conversation to the next level. 

“By dedicating a week to activities to raise awareness, we aim to open up the conversation between our people, challenge the stigma and encourage them to seek help if they feel they need it.” 

Gary Wright, deputy people officer, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, praised PD Ports for its efforts in challenging the negative connotations often unfairly associated with mental health issues. 

“This year, more than ever, the importance of managing our own colleagues’ mental health and wellbeing has been of utmost importance,” he said. 

“PD Ports’ move to invest in its colleagues is to be celebrated. We are very fortunate across the Tees Valley to see forward-thinking employers make moves to break down barriers and start conversations around mental health.” 

While the week of initiatives – which included stopping operations to encourage conversation – was well received by staff, Frans says this does not mean the work is done. 

“We were delighted with the support our people showed and we pledge to continue this conversation, challenging the stigma and raising awareness of mental health issues.”