Attending to mental health on board
Mental Health in the Maritime industry is something that we are finally starting to talk about. A topic that, for many years, was a taboo subject that was mostly avoided if it could be. Since the world was tragically put through a Pandemic, more people have realised how important our mental health is and looking after it.
Being seafarers away from family for long periods of time, living in close quarters with lots of other people and experiencing high stress situations, we now, more than ever before realise the need to raise awareness and equip seafarers with the skills to look after their own mental health as well as their fellow crew members.
According to the Crew Mental Health survey that Quay Crew carried out with over 1000 crew members from 50 different countries, 1 in 5 crew members are experiencing poor mental health. They mostly suffer with stress, anxiety & loneliness due to burnout, politics onboard and a lack of sleep.
As seafarers we have to have a STCW95 Certification which includes firefighting, personal and sea survival as well as physical first aid. Along with this you have to have an ENG1 Medical certificate stating your fit to work at sea. There is no mental health training or knowledge required for someone to work on boats. Even the seafarers who goes 11 months without seeing family or friends, in a new environment, working long hours, potentially not the best internet to be able to call home. You need to be able to look after your mental health in those situations.
We, as crew, have been in the industry for a combined 20+ years, who have lived those experiences, realised that we needed to provide some form of training to empower and educate seafarers to be able to better look after their own mental health at sea.
Emma started SEAS THE MIND two years ago and with the team, they are dedicated to creating more mentally healthy and resilient crew within the industry by providing Mental Health First aid Training accredited by Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA). It is a two- day course that teaches you more in depth about Mental health and how to spot the signs and symptoms within yourself as well as those around you. We also provide a half day Mental Health Awareness course that cover the basics of our Mental Health.
We are working towards a future where there is no stigma around mental health, to be able to talk freely about it and help as many seafarers as we can to become more educated and knowledgeable on the topic.