While stress and anxiety affect a lot of people, their impacts could be more severe to seafarers due to the nature of their work, which is characterized not only by intensive work hours, but also by isolation, being away from family for too long, fatigue, and many others.
In the second quarter of 2019, seafarers’ happiness marked a 6.27/10, down from 6.31 in the previous quarter, according to the Seafarers Happiness Index launched by the Mission to Seafarers and Shipowners Club.
In 2017, the UK P&I Club putted seafarer mental health in the spotlight, revealing that suicide was the top cause of seafarers’ deaths, accounting for 15% of deaths at sea.
Additionally, according to a study from the International Maritime Health journal, an estimated 5.9% of deaths at sea are connected to suicide.
With respect to the above, the Mental Health Foundation issued an infographic under the theme 'WAIT', providing four simple tips to anyone concerned about a crew member:
- W- Watch out for signs of distress and changes in behaviour
- A- Ask: 'Are you having suicidal thoughts?'
- I- It will pass, assure your loved one that, with help, the suicidal feelings will pass with time
- T- Talk to each others, encourage your loved one to seek help from a GP or health professional.
Since 2002, ISWAN has established SeafarerHelp, a free, confidential, multi-lingual helpline that is available to any seafarer 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. The helpline can be contacted by Telephone, Email, Live Chat, Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, VK.com and SMS text.
The World Health Organisation recognizes World Mental Health Day on October 10th every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.