- Port restrictions and changes due to COVID-19 are affecting seafarers.
- Seafarers must have a good mental health condition and build resilience.
- Seafarers have to find ways to become resilient and maintain their mental health.
- Psychologists and other experts have issued various advices for the mental health of seafarers.
According to an article published in Safety4sea, port restrictions, changes in the shipping industry and the feeling of the unknown that the COVID-19 has brought are affecting seafarers.
Seafarers advised to resilience
Therefore, it is important that seafarers have a good mental health condition and build resilience through this difficult time.
Although Dr. Kate Thompson, a counseling psychologist, has stated that seafarers have already developed skills that the rest of the population will need to adopt in future to manage the pandemic, as staying away from family and home for a long time, they are experiencing additional challenges as they have been asked to extend their contracts beyond their usual tour of duty.
Ways to build resilience for seafarers
Therefore, seafarers have to find ways to become resilient and maintain their mental health.
Kunal Pathak, Loss Prevention Manager in Gard’s Singapore office offers advice.
- Seafarers to write down three things that went well during the day and why they went well before going to sleep.
- It highlights the importance of positive psychology, which seafarers can follow in their efforts to look on the bright side and always try to find the good in the bad.
- Seafarers can write down all their thoughts on the left side of a blank paper and the situation that is inducing those thoughts.
- Keep the right side of the paper blank as they will need to counter all those negative thoughts with positive ones.
Reason for contrasting emotions
Mr. Pathak commented that, “The reason for contrasting emotions is that two different systems of thoughts are at play. During such an exercise, an individual will be able to engage the primary reaction as well as a secondary response to the same situation.“
Recently, Mrs. Maria Christopoulou, Associate of ASCOT Consulting, noted that seafarers are now required to do the following.
- control their own stress levels;
- fight the fatigue from the extended service on board;
- cooperate with equally tense and concerned colleagues onboard and ashore, operating at makeshift home offices;
- liaise with the port state, flag state, and other international authorities.
They must do all this while continuing to fully perform their duties as efficiently as they did before the pandemic.
Overall, seafarers are an important part of the shipping industry, as they keep things going. Maintaining good mental health while onboard although difficult, is something that can be achieved through effort and patience.
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