Tech CEO calls on industry partners to support mental health challenge

Davis Larssen, CEO, Proserv

 DAVIS Larssen, CEO of global controls technology company Proserv, has called on fellow industry partners and stakeholders to support his team’s mental health charity initiative, featuring a 600-mile cycle ride this summer, saying that “behind the anticipation and the physical challenge lies an issue that our sector, and business more widely, must not ignore.”

Proserv and its technology partner, Synaptec, a Glasgow-based power system monitoring specialist, have come together to form a team of more than 30 cyclists to ride 600 miles in six days this June. The group will set out from Proserv’s HQ in Westhill, Aberdeen on June 7th, arriving at its Controls Centre of Excellence in Great Yarmouth on June 12th.

The goal is to raise a target of £100,000 to be shared between two leading mental health charities, Mental Health UK and Mind. Some of Proserv’s participants are flying in from around the globe to take part and Larssen himself will be in the saddle to contribute to the fund-raising effort.

The idea was originally conceived by Bradley Savoldelli, one of Proserv’s team based at Greenbank in Aberdeen, and Larssen says the aim was to devise an event that would capture the imagination and encourage donations for a subject needing wider attention and awareness.

“This will be a taxing physical challenge but we need to turn a spotlight on to an issue that every business needs to embrace openly and transparently, not only in the energy industry but across every other sector.

“Many individuals and families live with the impacts of mental health anxieties and stresses every day – they can be hugely debilitating and particularly when there is no support available, in the worst case scenario, can lead to tragic yet often completely avoidable outcomes.”

Larssen points to statistics compiled this year by Mental Health UK that reveal one in four adults feel unable to manage stress and pressure in their lives.

“Studies show mental health struggles are a major factor in work-related illnesses and younger people tend to be more likely to ‘bottle up’ their feelings and try to avoid talking about them. So, accessible support networks must be clearly and readily in place within every organisation whenever someone feels they need that vital extra help or connection.”

A survey released last week by Mind points to the continued stigma associated with opening up about mental health problems, with more than 50% of people questioned thinking there is still significant shame attached to such issues. Proserv consciously first revealed its upcoming campaign on Mind’s Time to Talk Day on February 1st.

Simon Harvey, the company’s Vice President, QHSE, is another taking part and he believes bringing awareness to mental wellbeing and encouraging discussion is fundamental to Proserv’s campaign.

“We first established support frameworks in the UK some years ago and have extended this around our entire global business. The phrase ‘it’s okay to not be okay’ is absolutely right and people must reach out when they feel troubled or under stress.

“Raising a hefty sum for these well-deserving charities would be a great outcome but getting the message out that talking, opening up and sharing concerns are so crucial is perhaps even more important. That is a core objective of why we are doing this.”

A report in late 2023 by King’s College, London highlighted that nearly two-thirds of the UK’s population has experienced negative mental health impacts due to the cost of living crisis and Larssen believes the energy industry can also create an extra level of anxiety for those working within it.

“The past few years, with COVID-19 and the economic landscape, have understandably challenged people up and down the UK, and beyond. Our sector has typically been one where there can be volatility and uncertainty, while individuals are often working far away from home and their familiar support networks.

“Collectively as an industry, we have a responsibility to do what we can to safeguard the mental well-being of our talented teams around the globe. So, we are openly asking energy sector colleagues, partners and stakeholders to come forward, engage with and help our initiative to underline the critical need to support positive mental health in our workforce.”

To donate to Proserv’s fundraising campaign or find out more about available sponsorship packages, please email

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