How's it going... Really?

Posted on 20 November 2017 by Rachel Gurnett

There are great benefits to working at sea, and some 1.5 million people globally work in the maritime industry. But life at sea can come with challenges. BBC Stories recently released a video of one man’s story about his experience of suffering from mental health issues whilst working on board ship – see the story here.

In the video, Amaha bravely talks about how he hid his struggles and true experiences from loved ones while he was working at sea. This is a common experience for those with mental health issues, and with suicide among seafarers now the leading cause of death at sea, we need to work together to stop the silence and get help where it’s needed.

It can be a tough subject to talk about, but it’s vital that we keep mental health on the table. So what can we do? Here are some things you can do to help fight against mental health issues.

Become more aware

There are lots of free, short courses online and information is available, giving tips and guidance on disorders, conditions and symptoms to look out for. Knowing the signs of depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue can help either yourself or others to identify a problem and seek help. The MNTB (Merchant Navy Training Board) have full courses available on mental health awareness at sea, with other companies and charities having released more general information such as the Mental Health Foundation or Time to Change, which are worth looking into.

Be open

Talk. Share. Don’t stay quiet. It may be intimidating, scary even, but statistics show that one in six people will have experienced a common mental health problem. Sharing and talking about your own experiences may help others to seek help or reach out when they need to.

Know where to get help

Either for yourself or others, know that there are professionals out there who can help. The Big White Wall is free and an anonymous place to talk about any mental health and wellbeing concerns. Other charities and organisations listed above can also offer help and guidance where it’s needed.

Talk about it

Steps are being taken to remove some of the discriminations around mental health and people are becoming more aware of the potential issues that can arise. But you can really help by talking about it and continuing to help people know what to do and how to take steps towards improving mental health issues at sea.

If you are concerned about someone or need help yourself, see this list of people who can help, or contact Samaritans on 116 123 in the UK or Befrienders Worldwide if you’re overseas.