(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) Seafaring can provide skilled and responsible individuals with excellent career prospects, good wages, long holidays, responsibility, travel opportunities, and job satisfaction. Conversely, there are certain aspects unique to the lives of mariners that can contribute to stress, causing reactions that can affect physical health, mental wellbeing, and workplace morale. Such stresses apply to mariners regardless of whether they are on long sea voyages, on coastal trading, or working aboard vessels on inland waterways.
In particular, extreme stresses can negatively impact mental wellbeing. Research has shown that seafarers suffer higher rates of mental health-related problems than do the general population and other working occupations. Furthermore, mental health conditions have a cost in productivity: for example, in 2022 the United States Department of Labor reported $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year in the United States alone due to mental health-related issues.
If we know what contributes to mental health-related challenges, we can better prevent and mitigate their effects on our colleagues and crews. This guide examines some of the common contributors to poor mental health among seafarers and proposes various measures that can be taken to combat them. It is also intended to help seafarers and ship owners recognize if a crew member is undergoing a mental health crisis while aboard ship, offering initial recommendations for steps that senior officers may consider taking to manage the situation in cooperation with shore-based management and medical personnel.
Each ship and its crew are different. Crews are made up of individuals, all of whom will respond to their conditions and circumstances in various ways, personally and collectively. For example, tankers, bulk carriers, passenger ships, general cargo ships, and other ships, all experience challenges depending on a range of factors that include, but are not limited to, the cargoes carried, ship itineraries, and environmental conditions encountered while in transit. This publication focuses primarily on situations confronting seafarers sailing on international blue water voyages where the ship is underway and far from port.
Find out more by downloading the relevant guidance below:
Source: The American Club