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HSE People talks with Mike Scotland, Founder of manUP speak UP and the Community cleanUP

As we continue to focus on mental health awareness HSE People speaks with Mike Scotland about mental health offshore, manUP speak UP and the Community CleanUP


Mike Scotland being interviewed by the media

HSE People: How did manUP speakUP come about?

Mike: The group itself was started in November 13th 2019 but I guess you could say it was 28 years in the making. I’d been carrying a lot of mental challenges for years that I was fully aware of until one day I had an overwhelming sensation that really just hit me and I was sat in the passenger seat of my car with my partner, with my little boy in the back seat and I crumbled in tears. There was nothing that triggered the outcome externally but my thoughts had pretty much just took over and wanted out. After months of self reflection and personal development through reading material, research and help from those around me by simply just talking about things, I found myself in a position that everything in my life finally made sense. Being in the oil and gas industry for 6 years, I have seen the extent it can bring many people down and I always found myself in the position where I’m having a conversation with someone that is experiencing “mental health” challenges and more times than not, the challenges were tackled and overcome through simply talking about them out loud. I was aware that many people don’t feel comfortable with that physical conversation but would much rather having one over messages or a phone call and that’s why I decided to start up the manUP speakUP to give the people in the oil & gas, offshore, marine and energy industries a platform that they can simply jump in and out of and use when they felt necessary and its been absolutely incredible so far.


HSE People: Why do you think there is still such a stigma surrounding mental health in the oil and gas/offshore industries?

Mike: Personally, I think it goes back to years ago when you had to be “rough and ready” to put in the hard, physical labouring efforts when performing the drilling operations on manual oil rigs. I can almost understand why this may have been the case back then to a certain extent, but the industry has developed so much from the “rough and ready” approach almost irrelevant as there is more and more technology brought in to prevent a lot of the excess labouring efforts and I think the transition into “healthy and ready” (healthy body, healthy mind) is coming more apparent but the stigma created from years ago still lurks throughout the whole industry.


HSE People: Do you have any advice on how to deal with mental ill health? I’m not a professional mental health expert, nor do I have certified credentials to classify myself as one, however from my depth of experience, understanding, research, conversations with the professionals that do, my skill set and my reach of background help from my admin team and manUP speakUP suport from AVENUE, OSi, Mental Health Aberdeen and direct contacts to Mental Health experts, I am more than confident that the right advice can be provided to an individual that may be going through a challenging mental health battle.

A Community cleanUP team in Vietnam

HSE People: What is the Community cleanUP?

Mike: Community cleanUP is a global movement of removing the litter that is currently polluting the environment that surrounds us and the world we live in and starting cleaningUP right from our own doorsteps with the help and assistance from the local communities.

The movement originated from the exact place I used to go down to reflect on what was going on in my head when my own mental health challenges used to consume me and I announced to the world that I personally was struggling via video across social media, but it was ok. I believe that the coming together of people, having that conversations you wouldn’t potentially have with close friends or family or people you know is almost allowing you to release that negativity and let’s say “trash” that is built up in your own head, you are able to release it, appreciate it, understand it and then dispose of it removing the mental health litter that has polluted your head and in return, you’re removing it as well as removing it from the environment as you gather it up and dispose of it accordingly allowing the world to breathe properly again without being suffocated by excess litter weighing it down. Claire Eckert – Turnbull who is a driving force of the movement both in manUP speakUP and Community cleanUP actually takes to the rivers, lakes and local ponds to perform “magnet fishing” and spends her own personal time when she is not offshore to help remove all the excess metal rubbish and dumping items from the waters that you cannot even see to make sure that the aqua life are getting the benefit from the cleanUP movement also and to prevent those that do water activities the potentially of getting injured due to metal waste.

One of the Community CleanUp teams in Ghana sorting through the rubbish


HSE People: What is your hope for the future of the movement?

Mike: I want to raise awareness across the world on the importance of mental health and create an Openness outlook and style of conversation that allows people that may not know what it is, the understanding and appreciation towards the subject that they themselves may be experiencing or are able to spot someone who is. With the industry I work in, there is now a big push on tackling mental health, however I do believe that the manUP speakUP family will be a front runners in tackling the challenges on a personal level as we have already demonstrated incredible success through our members stories which is absolutely amazing in itself.

As for the Community cleanUP, I think that within 9 days to have over 1000 group members, achieved 4 extremely successful events in Scotland, Vietnam and Ghana removing over 2000 Kilograms of rubbish along with all the other efforts from the members, strangers becoming close friends, children thinking its cool to cleanUP and brining back a togetherness within the local communities speaks for itself. This movement will continue to build momentum and spread across the world (already having members in 46 different countries so far) and tackling the problem of world waste management from a collective perspective will be key to making our beautiful world clean again.


HSE People: What can people do to get involved?

Mike: To get involved, have an openness towards Mental Health and start talking to those around you, there is many postive groups out there which I would encourage people to get involved in as I appreciate manUP speakUP is directed for the named industries, but look in to your local area to find out what else is there for you. To join manUP speakUP private group, you can find us on Facebook or alternatively follow the hashtag #manUPspeakUP for all the latest posts on LinkedIn.

To get involved with the global cleanUP movement, join the group on Facebook, take a picture or video of litter, put it in the correct waste bin, take an after picture or video and share it on the group page. There is a lot of news, information on what is happening from around the world on the group page and it’s amazing the amount of people that have connected and started conversations from just being part of the movement. To find all the latest cleanUP events you can see everything on the event section on the page and find out how to get involved or look out for the hashtag #communitycleanUP on LinkedIn.

There’s no “I” in team, but there is a “U” in commUnity. Positive Energy, good to GO!

Thanks Mike for taking the time to speak with us, if you would like to share your mental health story to continue raising awareness get in touch

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