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Mental health – Work context and resource centre

What is mental health and wellbeing?

According to the World Health Organization, mental health is ‘a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’

How can work affect our mental health and wellbeing?

Work is generally beneficial to our psychological wellbeing and mental health as it can provide:

  • a sense of purpose
  • an opportunity for people to use and develop their skills
  • opportunities for social interaction.

There can be some circumstances where a person’s mental health can be impacted by work or other factors. Seafarers may face specific work conditions such as isolation from family or community supports, which may contribute to mental health issues.

We need to be able to welcome and support people with mental health conditions in workplaces, creating an environment in which people are confident they have support.

It is important to remember that mental health and wellbeing is holistic, and that many factors can contribute to poor mental health.

What could impact someone’s mental health?

  • Issues at work
  • Issues at home
  • Physical injury
  • Other issues

For seafarers seeking help and resources for themselves and their colleagues

  • Seek help if you feel you need it and support your colleagues to do the same.
  • If you identify a risk to health and safety, ensure to report this to your master and/or supervisor.
  • Psychosocial hazards and risks can also be raised through workplace consultation processes

For managers/employers

To reduce the risk and impact of mental ill health, employers need to raise awareness and build inclusive workplace cultures and effective systems for promoting mental health and wellbeing at work:

  • Consult seafarers on matters that relate to their health and safety.
  • Conduct risk assessments for the psychosocial hazards relevant to your workplace.
  • Provide and promote access to employee assistance programs (EAPs).
  • Appropriately manage the risk of fatigue.
  • Support seafarers when they exhibit symptoms of mental stress or ill health.


Below are some resources for seafarers and employers to understand, promote and support psychological resilience and mental health and wellbeing.

Supporting myself and others

Beyond BlueBeyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.
The Black Dog InstituteThe Black Dog Institute is working to save lives as the only medical research institute in Australia to focus on mental health across every life stage.
LifelineLifeline is a national charity providing Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. If you or someone you know is in need of support, please:
  • call Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • text a Crisis Supporter through Lifeline Text on 0477 13 11 14 (6pm – midnight AEDT)
  • chat online at (7pm – midnight AEDT)
SANE AustraliaSANE Australia is a national mental health charity making a real difference in the lives of people affected by complex mental health issues through research, support and advocacy.
Mission to Seafarers AustraliaMission to Seafarers Australia supports the maritime industry through seafaring centres and volunteer contacts at various ports.

Supports for an organisation

Australian Seafarers Welfare CouncilThe Australian Seafarers’ Welfare Council (ASWC) promotes seafarer welfare services in Australian ports to support and protect seafarers. ASWC’s role extends to assisting in the coordination of port/regional welfare committees, with AMSA playing a leadership (chairperson and secretariat) role in the work that ASWC aims to achieve, in supporting seafarer welfare.
International Seafarers Welfare Assistance Network (ISWAN)ISWAN works to promote and support the welfare of seafarers all over the world, with a variety of online resources available for both seafarers and their employers.
Australian Maritime Safety AuthorityAMSA’s mission is ensuring safe vessel operations, combating marine pollution, and rescuing people in distress. As Australia’s national maritime safety regulator, AMSA publishes maritime safety information and provides access to a range of resources promoting maritime safety for seafarers, operators and other stakeholders involved in vessel operations.
Safe Work AustraliaSafe Work Australia (SWA) develops national policy regarding WHS and workers’ compensation. The website provides a range of videos, seminars and podcasts on mental health. It also provides a range of helpful statistics and case studies.

Research on mental health

Phoenix Australia - Centre for Posttraumatic Mental HealthPhoenix Australia’s internationally recognised research program advances knowledge of the impact of trauma on the health and wellbeing of trauma survivors, their families and the community.

Events and engagement opportunities

A range of events hosted by specialist organisations such as the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association focus on a broad range of topics relating to mental health, mental wellness and the development of mentally healthy workplaces.

The majority of events scheduled for 2020 have been deferred in line with government policy relating to the control of COVID-19—the Seacare Authority will provide information on future events when and as this information is made available.

Who do I contact if I, or someone I know, needs help now?

If you have an emergency in Australia and need immediate emergency assistance, call 000 or 112 (satellite phone).

For immediate counselling, advice and support

Contact Lifeline using one of the contacts in the table above.

For search and rescue services

To contact AMSA for search and rescue services use the following 24-hour telephone helpline numbers.


  • Within Australia phone 1800 641 792
  • Outside Australia phone +61 2 6230 6811


  • Within Australia phone 1800 815 257
  • Outside Australia phone +61 2 6230 6899


To make an enquiry, or to provide us with some feedback on this page, please email us at

Last updated: 07 Apr 2020
The Seacare Authority acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of country throughout Australia and acknowledges their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the people, the cultures and the elders past, present and emerging.