Advice for seafarers struggling with mental health during the Covid-19 global pandemic

Currently many people in countries across the world are experiencing a new way of living, suddenly confined to their home and perhaps feeling “cabin-fever” and for some a sense of loneliness.

However while this is new to a lot of us, it is a different story for seafarers who experience time away from their friends and families and being confined to one space as a norm. This, among other reasons can be detrimental to the wellbeing and mental health of seafarers.

Due to coronavirus some vessels are unable to continue with their planned schedule, meaning there is the added worry of not knowing when seafarers may be able to see family again. As well as this seafarers may not be able to join vessels leading to job insecurity.

Below are some useful ways to cope with the increasing pressures caused by the current circumstances:

7 useful tips for dealing with anxiety from Help for Heroes

  1. Be aware of news that is relevant to you, but limit exposure to articles that upset you
  2. Try some daily meditation or breathing exercises to manage worry, anxiety of stress
  3. Create a routine that includes one fun or enjoyable thing each day
  4. Accept the things you can control. Try not to worry about things outside of your control
  5. Focus on the things you do have, rather than the things you don’t have
  6. Try to think positively and imagine best case scenarios
  7. Notice one good thing each day, no matter how small

As well as these tips, The International Seafarer Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) have also produced a video with counselling psychologist Dr Kate Thompson giving advice for seafarers in coping with the stress of Covid-19 restrictions.

A helpful piece of advice from this is making sure you have enough activities to pass the time, including physical exercise and time to contemplate and connect with others. As well as this, make sure that you are talking to your employers if you are struggling and also use the resources and support organisations available to you.

You can find the full video here:

In terms of support for seafarers facing financial issues, Nautilus are offering support through their partner maritime charities. More details of this can be found here:

Stay safe and well.