Crew Health Matters Crew Health Matters

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Crew Health Matters

By Johan Smith

Johan Smith, Wellness at Sea project manager
Johan Smith, Wellness at Sea project manager

Our award-winning Wellness at Sea programme has influenced the lives of many seafarers from all over the globe over the last few years. Wellness at Sea has become a significant force within the maritime industry, opening up a conversation that is vitally important to the welfare of seafarers.

Industry awareness, support and understanding of the importance of crew welfare and wellness has increased dramatically, indicated not least by the support for Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme and conferences.

Yet investigations into disasters at sea still indicate that anxiety, depression and fatigue are a sad reality for many seafarers and can take a terrible toll on the decision-making abilities of crew.

Our health study of more than 1,000 seafarers, conducted in partnership with Yale University, indicated that more than a quarter of seafarers show signs of depression.

Nearly half of the seafarers who reported symptoms of depression said they had not asked anybody for help and only 21 per cent had spoken to a colleague, despite spending months on a ship together.

Participants said the quality and amount of food on board could have a big impact on their mental health, alongside isolation from their families and length of their contracts.

Wellness at Sea Week is the culmination of this conversation and shows how this programme has gone beyond coaching, in class and online, to determine and set the discourse on human element matters within the industry. The programme has become a catalyst for talking about issues like mental health, physical health, holistic well-being and more.

A healthy crew makes for a healthy ship and, ultimately, a healthy balance sheet.

With strong industry support, we firmly believe that we can bring further positive changes for those our 200-year-old charity continues to serve – the seafarers on whom we all depend.

Wellness at Sea Week is both a celebration of seafarers and the work they do and a platform where ideas are shared on how industry can support seafarers as individuals and not just as workers.