Nautilus International has signed a new Mental Health in Maritime pledge, which has been launched today by Maritime UK.
The pledge is a cross-sector approach to mental health and wellbeing. It was created by Maritime UK's Mental Health Network as a way for organisations to share their commitment on this topic and ensure that mental wellbeing is considered at the highest level.
Nautilus International general secretary Mark Dickinson said: 'We are committed to improving the quality of mental health and wellbeing provision through action and support, at all levels, throughout our organisation and our industry.'
The pledge requires both a public commitment from leadership, and action. Signatories agree to: 'Establish working conditions and practices that foster a positive mental health state… dispel the stigma of mental health issues by establishing an open and trusting environment that allows people to listen and talk [and] ensure our workforce have the skills, knowledge, and education to help support individuals whilst working both on land and at sea.'
Nautilus International head of strategy Debbie Cavaldoro said: 'I am delighted that Nautilus is one of the founding signatories on the mental health pledge. The last 12 months have shown more clearly than any other that looking after mental health onboard is as important as looking after physical health.
'Seafarers can be isolated and involved in highly stressful and physical work. This can place additional strain on mental well-being and our 24/7 helpline is there to support any members who feel they are struggling. Internally the Union supports the mental health first-aider scheme to support the mental wellbeing of staff.'
Other early signatories to the Mental Health in Maritime Pledge include major ports, operators, colleges, maritime charities, the Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
When a company has signed both the Maritime UK Gender and Mental Health pledges, they are able to seek Diversity in Maritime Charter status.
Maritime minister Robert Courts also expressed support for the new pledge: 'Now is a critical time to demonstrate to workers that their mental health is a priority,' he said. 'This pledge marks a commitment to create a culture where employees feel comfortable talking about their mental health, should they choose to. I encourage all organisations across the sector to make the pledge.'