World Mental Health Day: Making Mental Health A Priority in Shipping

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As the topic of mental health is becoming increasingly relevant in the business sector and every aspect of life, with current data showing that at least one in eight people globally is affected by mental health issues, the global community is rejoining its forces on World Mental Health Day to “Make Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority”, reports Safety4sea.

Exacerbating geopolitical tensions, growing social and economic inequalities, conflicts, violence, and public health emergencies are currently affecting a great part of the world’s population, threatening progress toward improved well-being.

This makes awareness of mental health an imminent need worldwide. In the shipping sector, the nature of seafaring is characterized by separation from family and loved ones, isolation and increased workload, which has made the industry long ago to put mental health high on its agenda of urgent issues to be addressed.

Mental health and seafarers: Where we stand

The often-high pressure and demanding nature of work can create more high-stress conditions for seafarers compared to workers in other sectors. Several factors put seafarers amongst the occupational groups with the highest risk of stress. Latest research on the topic indicated more risk factors associated with poor mental health among seafarers, such as:

  • younger age;
  • being single;
  • poor physical health;
  • exposure to noise/vibration;
  • feeling unsafe;
  • high job demands;
  • long working hours;
  • night/irregular shifts;
  • poor sleep;
  • poor team cohesion;
  • poor perception of management;
  • poor social support;
  • lack of autonomy;
  • scheduling uncertainties;
  • long duration at sea; and
  • over-commitment.

Needless to say, the recent crew change crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which left thousands of crews trapped onboard beyond contract limits, increased reports of deteriorated mental health among seafarers. Dedicated helplines from ISWAN and MHSS saw an increase in the number of calls from seafarers asking for psychological support in the months following the start of the pandemic.

Read more here.

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Source: Safety4sea

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