Enough is enough, let’s talk

Join us in Antibes on 18th and 19th October to address all these issues, and understand some solutions, ways to help, and what to look out for.

By Sarah Smith-Garrison • 02 August 2021

What are the warning signs?

We talk to Emma Kate Ross, from SEAS THE MIND, who is a trained mental health first aid instructor. She shares the warning signs and what you can do to help.

Join her on the 18th and 19th October for a 2-day course in Antibes, discussing all of the below and giving advice.
There is also the option for a half day zoom, for an introduction to mental health awareness, on the 15th October.

Emotional Snapping: this can be starting fights, breaking down crying, being overwhelmed and unable to cope with daily tasks.

Everyone has their own stress signature. This will be unique to the individual based on their upbringing and family dynamic, but with all crew it will be a breaking point at which the façade drops and the person ‘snaps’.

Changes in behaviour or personality, sleeping patterns. drinking levels... Basically any deviation from the normal to an extreme would indicate that something is going on in their internal world that cannot be expressed or vocalised. They may not even understand it themselves.

However, in these situations, what is clear is that some internal pain is ‘leaking’ out in the above changes and should be addressed as quickly as possible to minimise the impact on the individual.

Responding to these changes and behaviours, no matter how awkward, is also important for all onboard.
Living together in close quarters means any issues affect everyone.

Try think of it in terms of physical health as we have a better understanding and a more comfortable relationship with that.
If a crew member starts limping on the side deck as you are bringing in provisions, you could ignore it and hope they get better before the next trip or crossing. Or you could address it, find out how they did it, and whether they need assistance to get better.

Pretending to be something you’re not?

Working in yachting is a privilege, it’s an amazing opportunity, traveling the world, experiencing things most of us can only dream of, but behind the iInstagram grid, it’s not all glamour and fun.

It’s long hours and often with little to no escape to the outside world.

Always on call, thinking of others’ happiness constantly, giving your charter guests their dream holiday at the expense of your own well-being.
Sleep deprived, and for some pretending to be someone they’re not, hiding their true selves, putting on a happy face for the crew and guests.

Sounds exhausting and debilitating.

There are things you can do

Emma, from Seas The Mind, is a trained Mental Health First Aid instructor and consultant, with many tips and advice on dealing with all of the above and more.

Have a listen to her podcasts with Superyacht Radio, and guest speakers include crew sharing their stories and a trained therapist offering some insight; they’re enlightening, non-judgmental and will open your eyes to mental health issues.

Understanding addictions
Men’s Mental Health
Eating Disorders
The stigma on mental health

What help is there?

If all crew could understand stress triggers and warning signs, then learn about coping mechanisms and conversation starters, maybe it would ensure a happier life onboard for all, enabling open dialogue.

No stigmas, no judgement, just help for everyone.

A course given by crew, for crew.

Emma is delivering these courses specific to crew, discussing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA).
Her workshop covers the different types of issues we face onshore and onboard, work place stress, warning signs, conversation starters and conflict resolution, addictions, the conflicts felt by the LGBTQ+ community, and how to approach all of these.

Email us for details of these sessions, we can arrange one exclusively for your yacht, or you can join the courses at our Antibes and Palma training schools.
The current dates are 15th October for a half day zoom or 18th and 19th October for a more in-depth discussion at our Antibes training centre. We will have more dates coming up shortly.


If you need support in the first instance, we recommend contacting ISWAN, with their free SeafarerHelp multilingual helpline, available 24/7 for all seafarers and their families.

On Kelly’s Cause, a foundation supported by SEAS THE MIND there is a ’Check-in Chat’ with a trained mental health first aider from hospitality who will respond to any communication, along with yacht crew and chefs available online to help.

In the UK? Text SHOUT to 85258 any time day or night. This is a free and confidential text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope.

In the United States? Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, at any time, to contact Crisis Text Line.
A trained crisis counsellor will respond to your messages from their secure online platform.