The U.K.-based charity Human Rights at Sea has published a new mental health welfare leaflet Remaining Resilient after Traumatic Events for the benefit of seafarers, fishermen and their family and friends.
The new resource has been produced in time for the U.K. Mental Health awareness week.
Authored by Professor Neil Greenberg, on behalf of Human Rights at Sea, the leaflet follows on from the Managing Traumatic Stress guidance that was published through The Nautical Institute in 2016.
Most people who are exposed to traumatic incidents cope well, though many will experience short-term distress. A minority, though, will develop persistent mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Until recently, there was no specific guidance showing how maritime organisations can help their staff prepare for, and remain resilient after, exposure to traumatic events.
Research shows that personnel working in trauma-exposed organisations have higher rates of PTSD. For instance, up to 20 percent of war correspondents and fire-fighters, 10 percent of police officers and up to one-third of military personnel in the U.S. and seven percent of combat troops in the U.K. have been found to experience PTSD.
Less evidence is available on the rates of PTSD and other trauma-related mental health conditions in seafarers, but it is thought that up to one-third of survivors of fatal accidents at sea may suffer PTSD. Particularly high rates of mental ill health have been found in piracy survivors and their families.
The new leaflet has been sponsored by Seafarers U.K. and is to be disseminated by The Fishermen's Mission, the National Federation of Fisheries Organisations, the Apostleship of the Sea, Thomas Miller P&I (Europe) and the Sailors Society.
David Hammond, CEO of Human Rights at Sea, said: "I am very grateful for all the peer reviews and superb cross-industry engagement with our latest publication covering mental health and welfare for the seafaring community. This leaflet is freely available to all who come into contact with persons who may have suffered traumatic stress and the consequences of such incidents, and it highlights key signs and symptoms post-incident to be aware of, along with helpful tips and hints for coping strategies."