All captains and crew recognise the need for healthy and robust physical well-being. Yacht crew are mandated to take First Aid courses to supplement their knowledge and understanding. This helps them stay well informed and potentially preserve life, prevent harm, promote recovery and provide comfort to the person who is ill or injured. We believe the same should be done for Mental Health. We couldn’t find any mental health training providers, so we decided to start SEAS THE MIND and become the first to do so in the Superyacht sector. By we, I am referring to Emma Ross and Melanie White. Introduced by a mutual friend in yachting, we met for coffee in Brick Lane, East London and shared so many ups and downs from yachting our heads were spinning after 2 hours and multiple caffeinated drinks. But what we knew from the start is how amazing yachting could be in terms of travel and financial security. However, the toll it took on mental health, physical health and social health felt unbalanced and ultimately avoidable. With this at the forefront of our manifesto, we vowed to leave the industry better than we had found it…

yacht crew mental health

SEAS THE MIND – Offering mental health training courses to yacht crew. Image: SEAS THE MIND

Yacht crew mental health

Whilst the human toll is incalculable, what the pandemic has done, rather like a present wrapped in sandpaper, has got yachties, crew and their friends and families back home talking about mental health in a more curious and open way than ever before. Regardless of where you are in the world right now, it’s hard to avoid the rise in people talking openly about mental health – both their own and others’. It’s at the heart of some of the biggest news stories and controversies; a call to action for some, a rise of snowflakism to others. But, let’s be honest, yachting has always been a bit shy when it comes to discussion of this topic; crew from all over the world, from different generations and cultures, work in such close quarters, and often come from different value systems. Some disagreement is inevitable, but many are on board now when it comes to raising awareness and reducing stigma.

Where SEAS THE MIND come in

At SEAS THE MIND, we revel in being able to step between the two worlds, being yachties, yes, but with one foot firmly planted ashore as a mental health training provider. In the first exciting year of bringing mental health awareness to yachts, we realised the power of being able to move between the two worlds and help connect them, and we could not be prouder.

A bit more about the founders

Mel started her seafaring career at 22 and moved quickly from green stewardess to chef/purser on busy charter sailing yachts. After years of back-to-back charter seasons she recognised a consistent void of discussion and external support to counteract isolation and harassment that those in the yachting community face. She went freelance in 2019 to raise awareness and campaign for change.

Emma completed her degree in Psychology and then pursued a 15 year career in super-yachting. Starting in 2005 on Motor yachts, Galaxy, Romanza and Elysian. Emma has also run sailing yachts, including Saudade, Mystery and Indio. Seeing and feeling a vacuum in the industry towards mental health and unchallenged bullying and harassment, Emma sought to find a solution and a hospitality based resource. Emma now serves as Co founder and Director of SEAS THE MIND and what she believes her training to be the most progressive resource available for anyone in the service industry.

Mental Health training courses for yacht crew

Mental Health First Aid, MHFA is an educational course that teaches people how to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health issue. In the same way, as we learn physical first aid for STCW95, Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to recognise those crucial warning signs of mental ill-health. It’s a practical resource for crew to tackle, recognise and fortify their own and others’ mental health on board. Taking MHFA into crew messes and onboard is really an opportunity to reduce depression and anxiety risks in seafarers, which may also reduce risks of injury and illness, and drastically improve crew retention. Mel and Emma were responsible for adapting the Mental Health First Aid course for the yachting industry, making it a global resource and training program for seafarers to tackle, recognise and fortify individuals in their own and others mental health onboard.Option available are:

Learning takes place through a mix of presentations, group discussions, and workshop activities. This is ideal for all crew
members, but crucial for HOD’S who find themselves in charge of teams of people.

A half-day course that raises awareness of mental health and is delivered either face-to-face or via online video conferencing. This is ideal for all crew members.

*Both are available onboard, on shore or online.

You can find more information on SEAS THE MIND, or get in touch here

For the latest superyacht news, click here

Related articles