Seafarers are exposed dangerously to high levels of mental stress, a new study carried out by Yale University and commissioned by the Seafarers Trust has revealed.
After questioning seafarers across the world the researchers found that within the previous two weeks 25 percent of them had suffered depression and 17 percent had experienced anxiety.
What is more, 20 per cent of all those asked had contemplated suicide or self-harm on several or all those days.
For the first time the study also identified a link between depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and a likely increase in injury and illness. The factors associated with these mental states included violence and bullying, lack of job satisfaction, and not feeling valued.
“This morning the report’s lead author personally briefed the ITF Seafarers’ Committee on the findings of this far-reaching and important study. It was a sobering occasion; the gravity of his team’s discoveries is evident,” Dave Heindel, Chair of the Seafarers’ Trust, commented.
“They should be taken as a call to action by everyone in the shipping industry.”
The study has also identified ways that maritime training institutes, companies, employers, P&I clubs and trade unions can address the problems. These include enhanced support for cadets, a de-stigmatisation of mental health within company culture, and recognition for the need for interventions to address workplace violence.