Nautilus is supporting calls for improved services to help seafarers deal with the increasing pressures of working at sea.
The Union has backed a number of initiatives which have been taken to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week - including action to raise awareness of the challenges that seafarers face and the need for programmes to support them in dealing with the impact of issues such as stress, fatigue, long working hours, and isolation.
The Union's general secretary Mark Dickinson said: 'Seafarers face particular challenges that can lead to workplace stress, such as long working hours, and frequent absences from home. While these conditions are part and parcel of a seafarer's job, the Union is campaigning for greater mental health awareness and for mental health training to be incorporated into first aid training onboard ships, so that the topic is no longer taboo, and crew are not discriminated against.'
Mr Dickinson added the Union's Women's Forum members had, in March 2017, got the backing of the Trades Union Congress to urge companies to put measures in place to enable seafarers to flag up stress-related factors at work, and for owners to provide them with access to recreational and welfare facilities including adequate shore leave and access to communications including the internet.
The Union also supports the work of The Sailors' Society wellness at sea coaching programme and its various health and well-being initiatives.
The Shipowners' Club stressed its commitment to improving standards for mental health and wellbeing within the marine industry. Last year, the Club recorded several claims involving crew members with suspected mental health issues. One claim related to a crew member's mental illness which had gone undetected until, unprovoked, he attacked fellow crew members with a crowbar. The crew member was diagnosed with a mental health illness and was disembarked and hospitalised for treatment.
In another claim crew members witnessed a suicide from a bridge their vessel was passing under. While these incidents are rare, the Club said the high rates of suicide in the marine industry - according to one study only the coal mining industry fairs worse - underline the challenges the industry faces in improving standards for mental health and wellbeing.
In recognition of this, the Club has published an article by Dr Olivia Swift of the Royal Holloway University of London outlining some of the key symptoms of mental health signifiers among seafarers and makes recommendations for mental health interventions onboard. The guidance is part of the Clubís Seafarers' Health Information Programme run in association with the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN). ISWAN also runs the Unionís Nautilus 24/7 emergency service for members.
The Mission to Seafarers secretary general Andrew Wright added: 'This Mental Health Awareness Week we call on owners and operators to review the pressure put on crews and to ensure that suitable support mechanisms are in place.'
Source: Nautilus International
Read More ...