by Charles Watkins

The True Cost of Ignoring Mental Health at Sea

Mental health at sea is developing into a pressing and unavoidable topic. Yet, we still need to evolve the conversation in order to tackle mental illness at sea. It is crucial to be familiar with the statistical reality we are dealing with today. Taking suspicious deaths (probably suicides) and proven suicides into account, suicide at sea now reaches an alarming number of 18.3% of all deaths at sea. “That means almost one in five deaths at sea is a suicide which is absolutely horrific. Ashore less than 1% of deaths are suicide. This is a problem that we can’t ignore” (Captain Rajesh Unni, CEO and Founder of ship manager Synergy Group).

Practical solutions and raising awareness are essential for the entire industry. ISWAN’s mental health awareness training has done a great job in focusing on exactly this area that still needs expansion. Furthermore, it may not be a comprehensive solution to the problem at hand, but certainly a great place to start. It appears to me that statistically, the actual difficulty may revolve around the urgency of intervention compared to the gravity of prevention. This is just one reason why we are offering the CSM Mental Health Freephone. You can call this number to inquire about mental health issues or for any acute situation that needs immediate attention. We are here for you to help tackle the issue with professional and clinical consultation. Since mental health issues are equal to safety issues, they need to get the same attention as safety-related issues have on board seafaring vessels.

Charles Watkins
MHSS

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