Depression at Sea - BIMCO Bulletin

Depression at Sea

TECHNOLOGY & EFFICIENCY | DEPRESSION at Sea November 2017 Identifying depressed shipmates at sea using TRIOs to do it By Robert Iversen and Rev Ian McGilvray W hat is a trio? A TRIO is a group of three shipmates who keep an eye on/ support a depressed seafarer. The purpose of this report is to bring to the attention of the international shipping industry the concept of TRIOs as a possible method of supporting depressed shipmates, based on the work of Rev McGilvray at the Port of Dampier over the period 2003-2016. Robert Iversen The mental health of seafarers is undergoing a great amount of renewed interest. In one report, the percentage of suicides was shown to be four times higher than the percentage of suicides both in Australia and the United Kingdom. More recent studies show a declining level of suicides. The International Transport Workers Federations Seafarers Trust responded by holding a conference on Social Isolation, Depression and Suicide in 2016 in London. The ITF-Seafarers Trust has issued a call for research. One hundred and forty TRIOs implemented From 2003 to 2016 McGilvray counselled 572 seafarers from ships at Port Dampier, Western Australia, where many are bulk carriers of iron ore. Of the 572 counselled, 165 seafarers were assessed to be very depressed and of these, 30 subsequently committed suicide. This is 5.2% of those counselled, a very high percentage. How many more seafarers might have sought counselling is unknown, but is undoubtedly very high. Reverend Ian McGilvray Robert Iversen is a researcher and writer on the mental health of seafarers and a member of the International Maritime Health Association. Contact: McGilvray realised over the reporting period, 140 of the very depressed seafarers needed to be supported and have their behaviour watched after they returned to their ships. McGilvray arranged for fellow shipmates to support and keep an eye on depressed seafarers. These were usually the master, boatswain and chief cook. He also arranged for seriously depressed individuals to receive medical treatment on shore. Over the period he learned of many deaths among these seafarers who had left Port Dampier, through his network of contacts aboard ships and from others who contacted him. The details of these encounters with seafarers are documented in the table below. Seafarers who sought counselling at the Mission to Seafarers, Port Dampier, Western Australia (2003 2016) Number of depressed seafarers Number of suicides Numbers to be watched 2003 18 7 1 8 2004 33 9 1 16 2005 26 8 0 8 2006 40 9 2 16 2007 23 7 1 3 2008 47 10 2 12 2009 40 13 2 7 2010 32 11 1 8 2011 55 16 2 10 2012 59 17 2 15 2013 53 18 4 11 2014 53 15 3 5 1015 76 17 8 16 2016 17 8 1 5 Total Reverend Ian McGilvray is a retired Chaplain of the Mission to Seafarers, Port Dampier, Western Australia. He was, for 26 years, a deck officer in the Royal Australian Navy. Contact: Year Number of seafarers counselled 572 165 30 140 Source: Counselling records, Rev Ian McGilvray McGilvray advised the TRIOs on the behavioural signs that might help them look for indications of depression, for example: not eating, eating poorly, poor sleeping habits, lethargy and being withdrawn, notably unhappy, with marriage or financial problems or who are not communicating with shipmates. The study concluded: McGilvrays counselling and experience with 140 distressed seafarers, and being able to form TRIOs of their shipmates is a strong indication that seafarers are willing to support and keep an eye on fellow shipmates suffering depression. Forming TRIOs on ships should be low cost using fellow shipmates. Photo: Danny Cornelissen at Given the volume of shipping and the identified incidence of depression among seafarers it is reasonable to conclude that not all seafarers in need have access to support and medical help. There is a limited number of counsellors ashore at Missions to Seafarers and Seafarers Centres. More counselling resources are needed. Connect with BIMCO Facebook Twitter Linkedin YouTube