The pandemic has led to increased stress, fear and anxiety. People are worried about their personal health as well as their beloved ones’ whereas uncertainty about an effective cure prevails. What is more, public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely while many struggle with their financial situation. Overall, the pandemic has many implications on one’s life. With regards to seafarers, pandemic may increase stress exponentially, considering that crew change remains challenging.
In this context, Intertanko issued a guide entitled ‘Crew Welfare Management and Mental Wellness’ to address mental health issues, especially during those challenging times. Among others, the guide gives advice on how to handle people in need, establishing effective communication, which is a high priority to foster a good working relationship onboard and improve the team’s morale.
How people are treated and managed on a day-to-day basis is central to their mental well-being and motivation, as well as the level of trust they put in the Ship Management team, Intertanko says, highlighting that empathy is vital. ‘’When you empathise with and care about the crew onboard, you can create a stronger bond with them. ‘’ the Association comments, suggesting ways to be compassionate, empathetic, courteous and considerate towards those in need.
Questions to ask
- How are you doing at the moment? How is your family doing?
- You seem to be a bit down/ upset/ under pressure/ frustrated/ angry. Is everything okay?
- Is there anything I can do to help?
- What support do you think might help?
Keep in mind that…
- People feel comfortable to share their true feelings and thoughts when they are convinced that they will be heard without judgment.
- Allow people to express their worries or stress. Avoid offering solutions or advice.
- Just listen carefully to feelings and facts, show concern and follow-up their wellbeing.
7 key tips to demonstrate empathy
#1 Choose an appropriate place
Choose somewhere private and quiet to have the conversation.
#2 Avoid making assumptions
Keep an open mind and give the individual space to talk it out
#3 Embed confidentially
Reassure the individual that any private information they disclose will not be leaked to others
#4 Encourage people to talk
Have an open dialogue when discussing personal problems.
#5 Be understanding and honest
A person’s performance or behaviour can be affected if they are experiencing mental health issues
#6 Reassure people
There are always people available to speak to; ensure people will get the possible support they need
#7 Encourage people to seek support
Inform of any arrangements for online counseling