The COVID-19 pandemic led to crew change restrictions and challenges for the seafarers, resulting to immense stress; Thus, Christopher L. Hall – Managing Director (Hong Kong), SCB Management Consulting Services, Ltd. and Business Development Director (Asia) – offers five things that the industry can do now to help seafarers cope with feelings of anxiety and/or depression.
#1 Recognise that seafarers are under immense stress
Seafarers’s job had always been demanding and stressful, given the long time away from home and the lack of communication. In 2019, an ITF and Yale study revealed that 25% of respondents had suffered depression, 17% had experienced anxiety and 20% had contemplated suicide or self-harm.
#2 Prioritize seafarer mental wellness
Caring for seafarers is better when it is prioritized from the top. It is important that crew knows where to find the materials to improve their mental health and feel comfortable, without shame or fear of being stigmatized.
#3 Encourage seafarers to connect with other onboard
Social activities are a good option for socializing.
#4 Educate seafarers on best practices for COVID-19
They should be reminded on how to wash hands and social distancing. Owners can help their crew and staff through guidelines and posters.
#5 Consult experts and listen to seafarers
It is important to listen to seafarers to know how you can improve their life onboard.