The Mental Health Support Solution (MHSS) urges the industry to provide support for crew by investing in Psychological First Aid (PFA) for those suffering traumatic experiences.
Clinical Psychologist and Managing Director, Charles Watkins highlights the importance of providing aid to the crew members that have experienced a piracy attack, referring to the hijacking of the oil tanker Nave Andromeda just off the Isle of Wight last month.
Mr Watkins highlights that it is highly crucial that physical needs and safety are assessed and restored after a traumatic event such as a vessel being hijacked.
It is an extremely distressing situation which can lead to a series of issues such as confusion, nightmares, psychogenic headaches, paranoid delusions and suicidal thoughts.
To remind, Psychological First Aid (PFA) was defined by Everly and Flynn in 2005 as a compassionate and supportive presence designed to mitigate acute distress and assess the need for continued mental health care.
To overcome these challenges, it is important to educate the crew about the event and the symptoms which may follow a hijacking. It is highlighted that the emotions need to be normalized to ease fears and anxieties. There should be discussions on stress-management techniques to educate crew and help them to absorb and release the trauma.
MHSS stresses the importance on a 360-degree support system which covers psychological care, medical care, logistics, financial issues, and spiritual or faith-based help.
Mr Watkins concluded that
It all starts with active listening and valuing what the person is saying.