At the 2018 Wellness at sea conference, by the Saliors Society, Rafael Lefkowitz, from Yale University’s occupational medicine programme, said a survey of more 1,000 seafarers, showed that more than one-quarter had screened positive for signs of depression.
Mental health of seafarers has been a growing topic within the industry as it affects crew of all ages, nationalities and ranks. An analysis of crew mental health revealed that anxiety, social isolation, pressure of work and disturbed sleep, can all negatively effect crew’s mental health.
Mental health is important as it is the mental and emotional state in which we feel able to cope with normal stresses and it can also control how we think, feel, work and influence our relationships with others.
Which is why we have put together 5 ways to tackle mental health whilst your onboard:
Communication is key, always remember not to keep how you are feeling to yourself.
Identify someone on board who you can talk to about how you are feeling and try to keep a diary and reflect on previous days and your general mood.
If it is all getting to be too much, reach out and let someone know. Talking about your feelings is not a sign of weakness, it’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.
2. Healthy body, healthy mind
Eating a balanced and healthy diet, really does go without saying, research has shown that food plays an important contributing role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems.
You could also try to take at least 15 minutes a day to do some form of physical exercise, whether it be a walk on deck or some exercises in your cabin.
3. Interact with others
Life on board can be stressful and isolating, so it is important to ensure that you take some time, to interact with the rest of the crew. Why not organise a movie night, games night or simply an activity that brings everyone together?
Relationships are important in tackling mental health, therefore it is necessary to take the time to work and build relationships with those on board as well as staying connected to your loved ones back at home.
4. Focus on the positive
It’s hard being away from your loved ones for any period and it is easy to feel isolated. To combat this, make sure you take time every day to notice and appreciate the positive impact you have on people’s lives, whether it’s your family, friends or crew.
If you do notice that one of your co-workers is struggling with depression or signs of anxiety don’t ignore it. Reach out and offer a helping hand where you can.
Please remember we are not healthcare professionals and if you do think you are suffering from a mental illness please get in contact with your Doctor.