in Health

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognizes World Mental Health Day on October 10th every year which aims to raise awareness on mental health, put an end to the stigma that has forced many to suffer in silence and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) 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.” The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is “Young people and mental health in a changing world.”

In an era where most working people have less time and more stress, mental health has risen as a big topic for every industry, and the maritime world could not stay unaffected. Mental health issues in shipping industry relate to the nature of seafarers’ job which is characterized not only by intensive work hours, but also by isolation, being away from family for too long, fatigue, and many others.

We all need to take mental health seriously and help in any way we can. Shipping industry is taking significant action toward this issue, in an effort to give seafarers’ mental wellbeing the priority that it so profoundly deserves.

See the signs, Observation is the key

Following factors may indicate presence or beginning of a mental health problem:

Changes in behaviour or mood or temper (emotional disturbances may also experience excessive irritability, frustration, or anger, apart from depression or anxiety).

Changes in effectiveness at work

Inability to focus/make decisions

Changes in eating habits

Sleep disturbances (sleeping less or more)

Signs of excessive alcohol use or drug use (not limited to illegal drugs)

Other physiological signs – Muscle tension or pain, Headaches or dizziness, Frequent colds, feeling tired or overwhelmed.

Take immediate action

When a mental health problem appears:

Arrange a meeting in confidence

Encourage discussion without time constraints

Use open questions to allow expressions

Arrange further appointments with other experts, if needed

Follow-up seafarer’s medical status

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