A study by the Yale University which was commissioned by the ITF Seafarers Trust shows that great level of mental stress is found among seafarers. The study also suggested ways to bring it down.
In the study, 1,572 seafarers were interviewed who are serving as seafarers on a range of ranks, vessels with different flags all round the world. It was discovered that two weeks before the survey was conducted:
20 percent had contemplated suicide or self-harm
25 percent had suffered depression
17 percent had experienced anxiety
A link between bad mental health and more chances of injury and illness on board was found in the study. The causes for this include lack of proper training, exposure to violence or threats of violence and low job satisfaction along with some other factors.
In order to take care of the mental health problem at sea, the study recommended the following:
Improved support for cadets, with better training and an improved complaints procedures
Efforts to de-stigmatise mental health in company culture
Work to recognise and intervene to address workplace violence
Dave Heindel, chair of the Seafarers’ Trust and the ITF seafarers’ section, 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 should be taken as a call to action by everyone in the shipping industry. For our part, the ITF and its affiliates will share these findings as widely as possible to draw attention to this hidden problem – as well as to use them to lobby the industry for system changes to the working environment onboard ships.”