Maritime union RMT today highlights the high levels of suicides at sea and the need for strong trade unions in supporting the mental wellbeing of members.
Suicide tragically remains a huge issue in the maritime industry.
According to a study from the International Maritime Health journal, an estimated 5.9% of deaths at sea are connected to suicide. Yet, when ‘suspicious’ deaths that were possibly suicides were included, the percentage increased to 18.3%.
There has been a dramatic increase during the Covid pandemic in the numbers of seafarers who suffer from severe depression (estimated at 25%) and the almost 6% of deaths attributed to suicide.
The relationship between mental health and unemployment is interlinked and good mental health is a key influence on employability, finding a job and remaining in that job, the union has said.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: "Maritime Safety week is an important time to highlight the personal suffering of our members working at sea.
“At a time when we are facing a cost-of-living crisis, the impact on our members’ mental health is immense.
"When it comes to suicide, employers must identify the problem by encouraging reporting, identify behaviours and identify ways to help.
“RMT is here to assist our members and employers to help with mental wellbeing and maritime workers when they run into difficulties.”