Arendal (Norway) - Norway’s shipping company OSM has chosen The Day of the Seafarer to launch a global campaign aimed at safeguarding and improving the mental health of its 11,000 crewmembers.
According to a recent report carried out by Sailors’ Society and Yale University, some 26% of seafarers have regular feelings of being “down, depressed or hopeless”, while studies by the Seafarers’ International Research Centre (SIRC) suggest that some key conditions for good mental health at sea (such as sleep quality/fatigue) appear to be in decline.
The year long initiative, christened How Healthy is Your Mind: An OSM Seafarers’ Guide to Positive Mental Health, will be pushed out across the 500 plus vessels managed by the business, addressing an increasingly pressing, but often overlooked, industry issue.
“This is a global issue and should be a matter of utmost concern for our industry,” states OSM CEO Geir Sekkesaeter. “Being on-board vessels for long periods of time, separated from family and friends, is difficult enough, and if conditions aren’t optimal then seafarers can be acutely vulnerable to mental health challenges. That’s easy to understand, but can be difficult for the individuals concerned to talk about. As such there’s a tendency to ‘sweep these things under the carpet’ and that only exacerbates the problem“.