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Seacare Authority – mental health workshop – keeping the conversation going

As part of its commitment to promoting health, wellbeing and resilience, the Seacare Authority held a mental health workshop in Fremantle late in 2019.

Recognising that seafarers face a unique set of challenges, our mental health workshop brought together maritime employees, seafarers and industry professionals in an open conversation about working together to increase awareness of and develop mentally healthy workplace.

Our challenge is to keep that conversation going.

Our mental health workshop brought together maritime employees, seafarers and industry professionals in an open conversation about working together to achieve better mental health outcomes at sea.

There were key speakers at the workshop, including:

Gavin Kelso, CEO, Hunterlink

Gavin has extensive experience across a range of industries, including maritime on mental health, homelessness, substance abuse, suicide prevention and Employee Assistance Programs. Gavin focuses on ensuring positive outcomes for both the individual and the business, as well as providing specific welfare services on an international basis to maritime labour supply countries.

Nicole Gray, Principal Human Factors Advisor, The Keil Centre

Nicole is a registered psychologist with extensive experience in the Australian Defence Force and the maritime transport sector. At The Keil Centre, Nicole specialises in Human Factors investigation, Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Culture, HSE Leadership and resilience and wellbeing at work.

Natasha Lindfield, Crewing Manager, Solstad

Natasha has a demonstrated history of experience in the maritime industry, and is skilled in Human Relations, Industrial Relations, Global Crew Management, EBA negotiations, offshore oil and gas and international shipping. She is an Employer Representative member of the Seacare Authority.

Other speakers included Reza Vind, Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Christy Cain, Maritime Union of Australia.

Our workshop speakers challenged us to consider:

  • What does ‘mental health’ actually mean and should it have a negative connotation?
  • That words have power and may have an impact on an individual’s recovery.
  • Knowing our own signs of stress, and the signs of stress that we see in others.
  • That often by the time employers are made aware of an issue, serious and long-term ill health may already be impacting an employee.
  • That working at sea presents challenges, such as limited access to internet and phone connectivity, that can isolate crew from their support networks.
  • That better outcomes can be achieved by employers and seafarers working together.

There are no simple answers to these challenges, but we can continue to work together to build our resources and understanding of mental health to achieve better outcomes both at sea and at home.

Our challenge is to keep that conversation going and the Seacare Authority will continue to look at the ways that it can achieve better mental health outcomes in a shipboard environment.

Last updated: 27 Jun 2019