It may still be shocking news that suicide (or suspected suicide) is one of the most common causes of death amongst seafarers, and it may rank higher than deaths from accidents on board.
It is also an acknowledged fact that seafarers are more likely to suffer from mental health problems than the general population. For example, research indicates that at least 25% of seafarers show signs of depression. Social isolation, loneliness, physical demands and fatigue all take their toll and some seafarers, as with all of us, will be more affected than others. There used to be a stigma surrounding mental health problems and this often prevented seafarers from speaking up or seeking help. Fortunately, attitudes appear to be changing and mental health is no longer a taboo subject, nor is it unusual to discuss one’s mental health issues or offer support to a colleague.
Today, many seafarers will also have the knowledge to recognize and react to symptoms themselves. The aim of BSafe is to raise awareness and point to existing, practical solutions for dealing with mental health issues among seafarers.
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This edition of Health Watch focuses on how seafarers can the prevent the development of mental health and stress related problems.
Seafaring can be a very isolating occupation and people may feel lonely. This article looks at how to prevent loneliness and improve on board welfare using simple means.
Fatigue has been identified as the main cause of a number of incidents at sea. This edition of Health Watch looks into ways of detecting and combatting fatigue at an early stage to prevent incidents.
This paper by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) sums up what factors have been identified to make a seafarer unhappy and which on board activities they can benefit from to improve mental health