Expert thinking on how to improve seafarers’ mental health and wellbeing

Safety4Sea asked industry experts, including NAMEPA’s Co-Founder and CEO, Carleen Lyden Walker, to share their views on what needs to change to make seafarers’ mental health a key priority for shipping, as the theme of this year’s international day highlights.

“I would change the stigma related to mental health.  This has been a taboo topic both on land and at sea—but at sea there are very few avenues for escape. A friend of mine once said: “We are all born perfect—then life happens.”  Whether it is upbringing, a chemical imbalance, traumatic experiences or environment, most people experience times of mental stress which can manifest in behavioral issues.  It is important to address them, and not try to put them in a drawer or under the rug. Depending on the severity, professional help is recommended to help resolve the dis-ease and restore equanimity. It is critical to express your concerns in a safe environment where one’s well-being is the desired outcome.  Many vessels provide access to doctors who will help the individual navigate through their time of discomfort.  Above all, respect for the individual and their situation is critical.” – Carleen Lyden Walker

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