For the third year, The Crew Academy renewed its pledge to deliver free mental health training to each of its students, along with any captain or HOD in yachting, for a total of 23 days of training to more than 400 captains and crewmembers. The courses are accredited by Mental Health First Aid England in the UK and are fully online, providing flexibility for crew to complete the training from anywhere in the world.
“There is a global movement towards positive mental health discussions and education,” The Crew Academy Founder Andrew Roch says. “Yachting is a microcosm of life; it attracts incredible individuals and then puts them through incredibly stressful situations, which when combined creates an environment where one can easily lose oneself with the levels of stress and workload on a yacht. This makes it essential for crewmembers to be aware and trained in all things regarding mental health.”
Over the past two years, the number of crew participating has increased exponentially, and The Crew Academy has had more than 600 crew and yacht managers attend different training programs. The course offerings cover mental health from a high-level perspective to a more detailed, in-depth understanding of different types of mental health diseases and strategies to help vulnerable people.
The one-day Mental Health Awareness course helps crew gain a general understanding of mental health, common mental health issues, and how to challenge stigma. The Mental Health First Aider training provides two days of in-depth training about mental health, triggering signs, and practical skills to act upon the signs.
The one-day Captain’s Mental Health training provides skills in mental fitness, stress management, and creating a safe and healthy environment for crewmembers. Suicide Prevention and Addiction Recovery is a full-day training that includes the principles of suicide prevention, the warning signs, and how to protect someone in a vulnerable place, which also deals with the core themes of addiction and recovery.
“Last year, we delivered for the first time our Suicide Prevention and Addiction Through Recovery program and, as it was free for all participants in yachting, we had over 50 crew attend the four-hour live sessions,” Roch says. “If just one of those crewmembers helped a friend who was thinking about taking their life and did not, then we have done what we set out to do — and that is to educate people to save lives.”
Hundreds of senior crew took part in last year’s Captains and HOD’s Mental Health program, and because of this, dozens of yachts have implemented a full cross-departmental mental health program within their teams. Also, this has helped remove the taboo around this subject for captains and HODs, meaning crew feel more comfortable discussing mental health issues on board and can find people or organizations to turn to.
“If I had to stress one thing, it would be that mental health is part of who we are and, therefore, affects absolutely everyone,” Roch says. “Positive mental health on board any vessel can be achieved through the leaders taking the first steps and driving that positive message down through the ranks. It only takes four hours to start the journey with us at the Academy.”
The Academy’s sister company The Crew Hunter will also be giving a mental health course to their candidates, the respective captain of the vessel, and one of its HODs.
All the courses are free to members of the yachting industry. Contact The Crew Academy: firstname.lastname@example.org for more.