Shipping companies and maritime employers should pay closer attention to the mental wellbeing of their workers today, with 20 January dubbed 'Blue Monday' – the most depressing day of the year.
According to the Office of National Statistics, one in six adults are experiencing a mental health problem at any one time and – due to the unique nature of the seafaring profession, where workers often find themselves isolated and separated from friends and family – seafarers can be particularity at risk of having poor mental health.
In 2018, Nautilus International, the RMT Union and the UK Chamber of Shipping agreed new guidelines to help shipping companies develop policies to protect and promote the mental wellbeing of seafarers and to ensure that they know who they can turn to in times of need.
Nautilus has identified seafarer fatigue as one of the biggest issues that continues to threaten health and safety in the shipping industry, and one that has a direct correlation with mental health.
The Union continues to highlight the extensive evidence of accidents caused by fatigue and is campaigning for more effective regulations to prevent excessive working hours.
Nautilus International general secretary Mark Dickinson said: 'Seafaring truly is a unique industry and whilst posing its own challenges, is a profession that can be extremely rewarding and offers a completely different experience to many onshore, nine to five jobs.
'Yet – as in any industry – there remain a number of improvements that need to be made to working conditions in order to reduce the threat of workers suffering from poor mental health.
'The Union is always there when members are in need of support – wherever in the world they are – and by working closely with employers across the industry, we can tackle this issue head on.'
Blue Monday is a name given to the third Monday in January, which is claimed to be the most depressing day of the year.