A study conducted by Yale University and commissioned by the Seafarers Trust has found the presence of great levels of mental stress among seafarers, however the ways to reduce it has also been mentioned.
Seafarers from all round the world were questioned and it was found that in the last two weeks 25 percent of them had suffered depression and 17 percent has experienced anxiety. Moreover, about 20 percent of them had thought about suicide or self harm.
Seafarer Mental Health Study
The study also recognized a link between depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and thereby an increase in injury and illness. The reasons behind such mental states were violence and bullying, lack of job satisfaction, and not feeling valued.
Dave Heindel, Chair of the Seafarers’ Trust, commented: “The more we talk about mental health, the more we reduce the stigma associated with it. This report really helps us to understand the contributing factors and provides a basis for demanding some fundamental changes in the way the shipping industry operates.
“This morning the report’s lead author personally briefed the ITF Seafarers’ Committee on the findings of this far-reaching and important study. It was a sobering occasion; the gravity of his team’s discoveries is evident. They should be taken as a call to action by everyone in the shipping industry. For our part, the ITF and the representatives of its worldwide maritime union affiliates gathered here today have pledged to share these findings as widely as possible in order to draw attention to this until now hidden problem – as well as to use them to lobby the industry for system changes to the working environment onboard ships.”
Ways by which maritime training institutes, companies, employers, P&I clubs and trade unions can tackle the problem have been mentioned in the study. Some of them are:
Betterment of support for cadets, ensure proper training and make improvements to complaints procedures
De-stigmatise mental health within company culture
Recognize and take responsibility to intervene to address violence at workplace by defining and measuring violence in the seafaring workplace; including major stakeholders so as to identify sources and plans for the reduction of workplace violence and by supporting research in intervention evaluation, with spreading of results to governing bodies, registries, unions, and shipping companies.
Reference: Yale University