The World Health Organisation defines mental health “as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

A recent analysis of crew mental health revealed anxiety, social isolation, pressure of work and disturbed sleep can affect crew, all of which can negatively influence their mental health, the Club said.

Recognising mental health issues is the first step in accessing the support needed to recover. Mental health can affect anyone and can feel just as bad, or worse, as physical illness.

In this respect, the Club cited a list of signs that could indicate a mental health issue:

Spotting the signs

-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  • Becoming withdrawn, not participating in conversations or social activities and spending increasing amounts of time alone in cabins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.

If you think that your crew might be displaying mental health signs, reach out to them. Many of the remedies for minor problems are often in the hands of those who create the working conditions under which seafarers work and live. Colleagues and friends are often able to form an impression of a person’s mental state much more easily than a doctor. Seafarers can therefore help each other.


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