Recognizing mental health issues is the first step in accessing the support needed to recover, the Club notes. Once you have noticed the signs, it is important to take action: encourage and stimulate your crew members and draw their attention to the prevention of mental health issues in meetings ; Identify what you want to achieve, set timeframes and involve key personnel; Organise an event to celebrate and announce the plan to your crew.

“If you notice a fellow colleague or crewmember experiencing any one or more of these signs, on a regular basis, or constantly over a two week period, or if you are concerned about your own mental health, please talk to someone. Tell the Master or a senior officer and get help”, the UK P&I Club states.

Also, further support is available from ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp and the Sailors’ SocietyWellness at Sea App.

The UK P&I Club lists the following physical & behavioral symptoms as signs of  mental health issues:

Physical symptoms

  • Suffering from frequent minor illnesses, headaches or stomach upsets
  • Difficulty sleeping or constant tiredness or feeling of fatigue
  • Feeling run down
  • Lack of care over appearance
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Minor physical ailments

Emotional/behavioural symptoms

  • Irritability,aggression or tearfulness
  • Loss of humour
  • Indecision, inability to concentrate on tasks , increased errors, missing deadlines or forgetting tasks • Increased consumption of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes and/or sedatives
  • Loss of confidence
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Becoming withdrawn, not participating in conversations or social activities and spending increasing amounts of time alone in cabins
  • Disruptive behaviour
  • Poor job performance
  • An employee who is normally punctual frequently arriving late