Blog: The importance of mental health

By: Chrissie Clarke

Head of People Programmes and Operations
cclarke@maritimeuk.org

MHM


The Diversity in Maritime networks (Mental Health, LGBT+ and Women in Maritime) are safe spaces, bringing together individuals across the five maritime industries: shipping, ports, leisure, engineering and maritime services, to discuss, learn and share.

On Wednesday 24 June at 1400, Maritime UK will be holding the inaugural, virtual meeting of the Mental Health in Maritime Network. The Network has been established to:

  • To provide a platform to share and develop mental health practices across the maritime sector (shipping, ports, leisure marine, engineering and maritime services) 
  • To gather and share case studies profiling maritime organisations best practice guides and policies to assist and improve mental health across the sector
  • To understand the barriers faced by individuals with mental health conditions in the sector
  • To provide individuals and companies with relevant information about mental health resources, best practice guides and toolkits.

The Mental Health in Maritime Network is not seeking to re-invent the wheel but to signpost and progress positive change. To start the conversation, Stuart Pollard, Chair of the Network has been speaking with mental health advocates from Thomas Miller and Mates in Mind. 

Steve Hails, Chair of Mates in Mind's Board of Trustees said:

“The importance of mental health cannot be underestimated. It affects the way we think, feel, and act, while also determining how we handle stress. Moreover, the mental health of a workforce has a significant impact on the overall health of the business and therefore, should be a priority for any organisation.

 “In light of the challenges posed by the current COVID-19 crisis, it is expected that workplace mental health issues, already a pervasive challenge, will be heavily impacted. Taking proactive steps to address mental health issues has never been more important as the whole world battles COVID-19.

"It is encouraging to see the Maritime sector taking steps to improve the mental health of the industry. This dedication to the long-term health of the business, and central belief that there is no health without mental health, reflects Mates in Mind’s core values. By opening up the conversation around mental health, the Maritime sector will be taking vital steps towards creative positive and long-lasting transformations to the health of their industry.”

Sophia Bullard, Director of Crew Health, Thomas Miller said:

“As a long time advocate of mental health and well-being I’m so pleased to see these topics remain a key importance within the Maritime sector.  Our industry is heavily reliant on people and keeping those people healthy has to be our first priority. At sea and on land we are working towards the best possible physical and mental well-being.  Making mental well-being less of a tick box exercise and more of an ongoing, continuous journey, in which organisations can play a major role in helping their people reach their potential.

Ensuring our mental well-being requires very similar steps to how we go about maintaining our physical health.  Awareness and education are the first of these steps which are greatly benefited by open discussion and sharing of ideas.   The work undertaken by Mental Health in Maritime network is essential in this respect to ensure positive mental health remains a top priority in Maritime.”

If you are an individual who is interested in becoming part of the network, or a company who is willing to share best practice, you can register here.