The maritime industry is known for being physically demanding, but people are finally starting to talk about how hard the industry can be on workers’ mental health. A growing body of research shows that those who work in this field have a significant risk of different mental health concerns, as well as less access to mental health services. It should come as no surprise that this can also increase the likelihood of physical injuries.
If you’ve suffered an injury while working in the maritime industry, you could be entitled to compensation. Learn more now by contacting Fuquay Law Firm at 251-473-4443.
Maritime Work Can Be Bad for Mental Health
Maritime work can take an enormous toll on your mental well-being. Research conducted by BMC Psychology looks at the risk of seafaring work and psychological issues. They looked at a number of stressors that contribute to unhappiness in the workplace, including poor physical work conditions, social isolation, and long hours.
Their review of the literature found that a number of factors increase a maritime worker’s risk of mental health concerns, including:
- Young age
- Being single
- Exposure to noise and vibration
- Poor physical health
- Intense job demands
- General feeling of not being safe
- Long work hours
- Swing shifts
- Low quality of sleep
- Lack of social support
- Scheduling uncertainties
Several constant factors of maritime work drive up the risk of poor mental health, some of which are detailed below.
Isolation and Loneliness
Isolation is perhaps one of the most difficult parts of working in the maritime industry. Workers may be away from their families for weeks or months at a time, and depending on where they’re located, even phone calls may not be an option. The only community you may have is the other workers onboard your vessel, and in some cases, it would be better to be completely alone. Even short periods of isolation can have a devastating impact on mental well-being.
The Challenging Nature of the Work
No one questions the intensity of maritime work. It’s physically and mentally demanding and making a mistake could lead to serious injuries or even fatalities. That much pressure is hard to bear on a daily basis, and it can be detrimental to your mental health.
In most jobs, it’s okay to have an off day occasionally; if you sit at your desk and operate at 50%, you can always make up for it another day. That isn’t the case in the maritime industry—when you’re on shift, you have to be completely focused. This also often leads to a lower quality of sleep, since it’s hard to “switch off” your work mode and relax.
Increased Risk of Physical Injuries
Poor mental health can lead to more physical injuries. When a ship is being run by a whole crew, its functioning is dependent on every member of that crew operating at their best. When a significant portion of that crew is unfocused, distracted by other issues, or dealing with depression, avoidable mistakes are made. This leads to preventable maritime injuries that could have been avoided with greater detection of mental health concerns and more widely available mental health resources.
Resources for Maritime Workers
Access to mental health resources is perhaps one of the greatest challenges for maritime workers. Until recently, this issue has largely gone undiscussed. This is partially due to societal pressure and partially due to pressure from employers. The majority of maritime workers are male, and society continues to place pressure on men to be “mentally strong” and avoid the appearance of weakness, which means these issues go ignored.
Maritime employers have also ignored this issue for a long time, leaving many employees with the option of either ignoring their problems and getting back to work or disclosing their problems and risking a loss of income and status. Luckily, this is starting to change. A growing number of mental health organizations and maritime work associations have started to provide specific, targeted help to maritime workers.
Choose Fuquay Law Firm for Your Maritime Injury Claim
If you’ve suffered serious mental health concerns or physical injuries while working aboard a vessel, you may be entitled to compensation. Not sure about your options? We’re here to help. Set up a consultation now by calling Fuquay Law Firm at 251-473-4443 or sending us a message online.