In 2020 an industry-wide survey on seafarer wellbeing showed that 54% of seafarers felt they were not being actively helped to manage stress and fatigue. This is with the backdrop of a significant crew-change crisis impacting both seafarers and their families during a tumultuous year. But seafarer mental health and well-being has been an area of concern well before the pandemic, with issues such as isolation, fatigue, and stress being commonly reported.
In 2019 the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health found that “significantly more seafarers report being happy or very happy at home than report being happy or very happy on board”. In the same study 55% of employer respondents stated that their companies had not introduced any policies or practices aimed at addressing issues of seafarers’ mental health in the last 10 years. In contrast, the latest The Mission to Seafarer’s latest Seafares Happiness Index highlighted the positive impact that small scale solutions and investments with regard to connectivity, food and social activities have made to life on board.
Launched at the 1st Global Conference for Seafarer Mental Health and Wellbeing, this IMarEST Special Interest Group will bring together global thought leaders and key stakeholders from the maritime sector who are actively involved and have a keen interest in discussing practical solutions to improving seafarer mental health and wellbeing. The focus will be on interventions and exploring best practice of implementation, monitoring results and identifying what more can be done.
The SIG aims to:
Form an expert committee of members to address issues relating to mental health and wellbeing, covering a variety of workstreams such as: reducing stigma, improving life onboard, resilience & wellness etc
Raise awareness with IMarEST members and wider audiences through a programme of events including conference, webinars and roundtables, offering an opportunity for industry to directly input into discussions on best practices and solutions.
Build a global community that brings together marine professionals to share experiences with policymakers and businesses to support a means to initiate positive changes and consider the importance of addressing mental health.
Promote the role of mental health considerations in operational healthy and safety, and capability (e.g. managing fatigue)
Promote proactive measures that the shipping industry can take in support of better mental health, including improvements to shipboard communications, infrastructure, the value in recreational facilities and physical health, seafarers employment terms and condition etc.
Explore organizational barriers and how to overcome them.