Recognising the toll life at sea can have on seafarers’ mental health should not be underestimated, a Government minister has urged.
Following Merchant Navy Day this Monday (3 September), mental health minister Jackie Doyle-Price has expressed her appreciation for modern-day merchant seafarers and the impact weeks away from their homes and families can often have on their well-being.
A recent study published by the maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society and Yale University found that 26 per cent of seafarers said they had felt ‘down, depressed or hopeless’.
Nearly half (45 per cent of the seafarers who reported symptoms of depression said they had not asked anybody for help, fearing negative consequences on board.
Jackie Doyle-Price MP said: “I am very grateful to Sailors’ Society for bringing this issue to my attention, and for the work they do to support seafarers.
“They do a vital job, transporting more than 90 per cent of our goods and trade. Seafarers can be away from their family for months at a time so there is clearly a need to protect their mental health.”
Sandra Welch, Sailors’ Society’s deputy CEO and director of programme, said: “At Sailors’ Society seafarer well-being and mental health are some of our key concerns and we’ve developed our own Wellness at Sea coaching programme to help the shipping industry ensure that life at sea doesn’t take an undue toll on seafarers.”