The IMarEST is taking a leading role is moving mental health and wellbeing higher up the industry agenda to give it the focus it needs. You can now get involved on Nexus.
Mental health and wellbeing across the marine sector have never had the attention they need – but the pandemic and its devastating impact on seafarers, with many stranded far from home for months, cancelled crew changes and job uncertainty – means it has become even more critical.
It is not just seafarers, of course. It affects the whole industry and its people.
It affects the operational safety and the business as a whole and the consequences can be far reaching. Tired or stressed employees may go off sick or make mistakes that can be devastating. Often, they are blamed when something goes wrong, yet the fault may lie with an inadequate or non-existent organisational structure which fails to look after or support them.
With a lack of research in this area, we don’t have the firm evidence of the scale of the problem we need but recent work from the World Maritime University gives some indications of the scale. And that problem is rooted in the poor health and safety culture of the sector.
Yet it doesn’t have to be this way. Other high-hazard industries such as aviation, nuclear, oil and gas have invested in this area and their performance is far better than the marine sector.
The IMarEST role
The IMarEST is taking a leading approach through its technical team.
At a strategic level, the IMarEST plans to work with partners such as Lloyds Register Foundation and the IMO, create webinars – the IMarEST started on this in 2020 – and support cross-industry initiatives such as the Maritime Safety Week.
We also recently launched a new NEXUS group on mental health and wellbeing for members to share, discuss and learn from each other.
It’s early days but it has never been as important or needed so urgently. Get involved by joining the Nexus group on Mental Health and Wellbeing here.
Captain Panos Stavrakakis, head of the Centre of Organisational Health and Wellbeing at the UK Health and Safety Executive Science and Research Centre, and Maria Kouboura, Senior Policy Manager at the IMarEST, are leading this initiative.
Find out more on IMarEST TV
Panos Stavrakakis, member of the Technical Leadership Board, talks about mental health and work-related stress. Watch again on IMarEST TV.