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LR Foundation in calls to improve seafarers’ mental health long-term

Lloyd’s Register Foundation, which helps to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research, has launched two calls for insight from maritime companies and organisations on how mental health and wellbeing among seafarers can be improved.

The first call for evidence follows the recent release of a Psychological Wellbeing and Safety report from Nottingham Trent University, funded by the Foundation, which raised questions including: ‘How can we learn from organisations’ responses to the pandemic about how best to support the psychological wellbeing of employees, longer-term?’

Olivia Swift, Senior Programme Manager at the Foundation commented: “This project aims to provide maritime organisations with collated and actionable learning from the pandemic that will help them maximise employees’ psychological wellbeing and the role it plays in workplace safety in the future.”

Anyone with insight to share can email for more information and to arrange a conversation. Data shared can be anonymised or attributed, according to the organisations’ preferences, and will contribute to a report released later in 2021 to which contributors will have early access.

The second call for insight from the Foundation is via two virtual round tables on 29 June and 15 July 2021 (1-3pm GMT) in conjunction with the Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) and Yale University where shipping companies are invited to share their perspectives on seafarer mental health. Specific topics covered include training, living conditions, interpersonal factors and work demands.

Swift added: “While the crewing crisis and other effects of the pandemic have weighed heavily on seafarers, this is an issue that existing before the pandemic and is likely to continue afterwards despite many important industry initiatives launched to tackle this very problem. There’s a unique culture in seafaring which can involve long hours, dangerous working conditions and social isolation – all challenges which can, and do, threaten mental health. During these round tables we’d like to discuss how these long-term structural factors can be addressed with tangible and pragmatic action, prioritised by what is both implementable and impactful, based on companies’ perspectives and experiences to date of what works in practice.”

Following the round tables, an index of specific changes that are possible and potentially game-changing will be published as part of a wider project that Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) and Yale University is conducting into the coverage and effectiveness of current practices in seafarer health.

The  project will also consider recommendations provided by existing seafarer mental health research including the Seafarer Mental Health Study by ITF Seafarers’ Trust and Yale University; the Seafarers’ Mental Health and Wellbeing report by IOSH and SIRC, at Cardiff University and ISWAN’s Mentally Healthy Ships report (2020), appendix B.