Seafarers onboard often face mental health-related challenges, like isolation, loneliness, lack of shore leave, heavy responsibilities, fear of job loss and separation from family, which could affect their mental health. SQLearn’s CBT modules for seafarers’ mental health and wellbeing follow Rightship guidelines and promote resilience and wellbeing onboard.
The problem: Elevated level of mental health problems at sea
According to the Seafarer Mental Health Study, seafarers tend to be more vulnerable regarding their mental health compared to land-based workers. On top of that, it is hard to talk about mental health, as people fear being seen as weak or being judged by others, they worry about keeping their jobs and they are often scared of what others may think of them since mental health is a taboo subject in some cultures and families.
However, it is particularly important to talk about mental health, as the levels of depression within the shipping industry are high and this can affect seafarers’ lives, their families, and the companies they work at, as per Seafarers International Research Centre.
Everyone should be able to express his thoughts and feelings to others without shame or prejudice. To the same extent, everyone should be available to act accordingly when he identifies someone in a low psychological state, provide valuable help and stay connected.
What is resilience and what makes it important?
According to Mayo Clinic, resilience is your ability to adapt well and recover quickly after stress, adversity, trauma, or tragedy. If you have a resilient disposition, you are better able to maintain poise and a healthy level of physical and psychological wellness in the face of life’s challenges. If you are less resilient, you are more likely to dwell on problems, feel overwhelmed, use unhealthy coping tactics to handle stress, and develop anxiety and depression.
You can develop resilience by training your attention so that you are more intentional about your perceptions. You use purposeful, trained attention to decrease the negative thoughts in your mind and bring greater focus on the most meaningful aspect of an experience. Programs incorporating these approaches can improve your resiliency, enhance your quality of life, and decrease your stress and anxiety.
Resilience is an important component of a crew member’s ability to participate successfully in a journey, as resilient crews tend to build positive, caring and supportive relationships, as well as effective communication skills and problem-solving coping mechanisms.
The solution: Training for a mentally healthy and resilient crew
Mental health and resilience training for maritime is a concept that is becoming increasingly common and can prove to be of high importance to seafarers’ safety. Investing in training is an essential part of achieving safe journeys, as mentally healthy and resilient workers tend to avoid incidents and accidents, which in turn benefits maritime companies.
Training can help seafarers to ensure they are well-prepared for some of the challenges that they may face. If mental health is no longer considered a taboo, they will be more comfortable seeking help and talking about their problems. Another important factor is that seafarers and senior staff will be equipped with the skills needed to effectively respond to a concern on board or within their company.
Moreover, according to the Guidelines To Shipping Companies On Mental Health Awareness agreed by Nautilus, the RMT union and the UK Chamber of Shipping, shipping companies “should provide, or arrange, training for management-level personnel onboard ships and ashore in recognizing signs of mental health problems, facilitating discussions in staff meetings about mental health and having sensitive and supportive conversations with sufferers of mental health problems.”
The above-mentioned guidelines are also included in Rightship’s Dry Bulk Inspections Questionaire, as RightShip “believes in supporting organizations that work to identify seafarer mental health issues and support crews to enjoy happy, healthy journeys.”
How can training assist my company to increase mental health awareness and train resilient employees?
SQLearn provides a library of CBT modules available under the Let’s Talk and Resilience Training Programme.
The aim of these courses is the improvement of the crew’s capacity to successfully deal with stressful personal or professional challenges and take effective decisions, as well as to start having conversations around mental health and to start building understanding.
Through real case scenarios, discussion topics , and dos and don’ts provided, the crew understands that by staying connected to each other and to other communicational channels available for their mental wellbeing, they can confront issues that may arise before creating a negative effect on their psychology.
Each module can be customized according to each company’s training approach and philosophy. The courses incorporate reflective learning methodologies and are based on updated material according to the latest industrial and enterprise standards. All modules are delivered in a group setting and led by a facilitator.
What are the key benefits of SQLearn’s CBTs?
SQLearn provides a library of e-learning courses that cover most international, national and flag requirements and are significant in the field of safety training. All e-learning courses are designed according to the latest e-learning standards, are interactive and use multimedia elements, like narration and 3D videos. Moreover, they are also offered as CBTs using a dedicated USB flash disk or using an innovative hardware solution for onboard training called Dolphin Box. Using Dolphin Box, the crew manager can manage and monitor the training process across the fleet in real-time while all seafarer trainings (e-learning, ashore trainings, drills) are kept in a complete seafarer training record. SQLearn’s e-learning courses for maritime are certified according to relevant ABS standards.