The superyacht recruitment agency Quay Crew will have an exclusive partnership with Mental Health Support Solutions (MHSS), an organization with qualified clinical psychologists who specialize in supporting seafarers and the maritime industry. All crew placed with Quay Crew will have access to a 24/7 mental health helpline staffed by trained psychologists.
As part of the collaboration, MHSS and Quay Crew will be providing a program of free educational webinars and content that supports captains, heads of departments (HODs), and management companies in helping crew to improve their mental health on board. Some already scheduled sessions will focus on “common causes of stress, anxiety and depression, including how to deal with or avoid burnout, conflict resolution, bullying and harassment, and substance abuse,” according to the press release.
Director at Quay Crew Tim Clarke says, “Anecdotal evidence from conversations from captains, HODs, and hundreds of superyacht crew has highlighted just how many people on board suffer with poor mental health. So, we are delighted to be able to give our placed crew access to this service, delivered by qualified psychologists.”
To highlight the most critical mental health concerns of crew, they have also launched an industry-specific mental health survey to gather data, hoping to show owners, management companies, and captains the benefits of making support services available to crew. The results are due to be published later in the year.
“However, our commitment is just a drop in the ocean and as a sector, we are lagging way behind on the support we provide our crew,” he says. “We must do more to ensure they have access to the help they need.”
The mental health of a crewmember greatly affects that individual, but it also can play a part in overall morale and productivity on board. Research by YouGov revealed that overseas employees are more likely to face mental health challenges created by their situation from being away from friends and family, different time zones making it difficult to keep in touch, and travel COVID-19 restrictions changing the lifestyle.
Christian Ayerst, CEO of MHSS, says, “The past eighteen months have only highlighted to us how significant mental health issues at sea can be, largely due to long hours and isolation from family and friends, so it’s fantastic to be supported by a company with such a strong foothold in the superyacht sector. We’re excited to work on a raft of projects that will raise awareness and enhance mental health support services to crew worldwide.”