Staying Ship Shape

Let's talk about mental health

Do you have a family member, friend or crew mate who is currently dealing with wellbeing concerns? Perhaps it’s you who isn’t currently feeling quite on top of things but you’re not sure what’s wrong? Research has shown that many who work at sea are struggling to stay Ship Shape.

FirstMate New Zealand is an initiative set up for our seafood whānau, by seafood whānau, to provide all of us who work at sea or on marine farms with one-on-one support when we need it the most.

The resources below have been provided by FirstMate New Zealand and are here to help you understand more about wellbeing and provide you with coping strategies for when times get tough. These resources have been developed and/or adapted by Guard Safety in conjunction with professionals in our sector.

The numbers

50%

of New Zealand adults meet the criteria for a mental health illness diagnosis at some stage during their lives.

20%

of New Zealand adults have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

40%

of commercial fishers in Australia have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. This is double the national average. Recent New Zealand research indicates our fishers are also struggling.

Seafood Sector Wellbeing Videos

Staying 'Ship Shape': Wellbeing Training

This training module will help you to understand what mental health and wellbeing is, how to recognise signs and symptoms and how to manage them onboard and at home. This module consists of a video, short quiz and certificate on completion.

Fisher Wellbeing:
Being a Fisher

Listen to Tiny discuss what it means to be a modern fisher today. How fishing has changed, the improvements, the challenges and how he stays Ship Shape in the industry.

Aquaculture Wellbeing:
Being a Marine Farmer

Marine farmer, Simon talks about the marine farming industry, his business, his challenges and how he stays Ship Shape.

Aquaculture Wellbeing:
Whānau Matters

Listen to an aquaculture family describe how they support each other through difficult times.

Fisher Wellbeing:
Diving into the Fishing Industry

Tim, a contract diver, discusses his occupation, challenges and how he stays Ship Shape.

FirstMate New Zealand:
What is Success?

Success is far more than just being wealthy. It's about balance across all parts of your life.

The Five Ways to Staying Ship Shape

The Five Ways to Staying Ship Shape have been adapted courtesy of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. You can introduce any of these actions into your life, any time, and it will improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Talk, listen, and connect with others such as fishers, whānau and friends. Those living with a mental health condition often withdraw from others, so keep an eye out for those who don’t come to events, parties or BBQs anymore! Missing friends and whānau when at sea is a key concern for seafarers, so consider these tips: 
 
  • When at sea set a contact schedule with your whānau and friends if possible. 
  • Connect with crew and build a strong team that is comfortable asking each other “Are you Ship Shape Mate?”.
  • Importantly remember your partner and whānau are left alone and also have struggles when you are away, so be understanding and patient when talking to them at home or from sea and give them time when you are back. Find someone to talk openly with about your worries and struggles.
  • Connections with trusted people are the cornerstone of wellbeing, so invest time in developing them and get yourself out there.

Giving means to give your time, attention and presence. Carrying out acts of kindness and sharing your time and stories can increase your happiness and your general.

Importantly remember your partner and whānau are left alone and also have struggles when you are away, so be understanding and patient when talking to them at home or from sea and give them time when you are back.

  • Find someone to talk openly with about your worries and struggles.
  • Connections with trusted people are the cornerstone of wellbeing, so invest time in developing them and get yourself out there.

Focus on the moment without worrying about all the stresses in your life. Notice the positive things around you like the good weather, the sunrise and sun set, the environment and the last good catch and this will improve your mood.

Give yourself a break. Reflecting on your experiences and achievements in life no matter how large or small will give you a lift as will savouring the moments when good things happen.

There are many positives to being at sea and we have the best workplace in the world. Many people will never see the greatness we see on a daily basis so take notice and enjoy.

Learning increases our self-esteem, keeps us connected and helps us adapt to change.

Things like exploring new ideas, new fishing grounds, rediscovering an old interest or hobby and even doing a skipper’s ticket can help your mental health.

Take a calculated chance, do something new, find something that will engage your mind and keep learning new things.

The fifth and final way to staying Ship Shap is being active. Getting physically active every day is great for both our bodies and minds.

Research has shown that it can really improve our mood and overall wellness, and it decreases depression, stress, and anxiety.

Being active means any form of physical movement, such as helping the crew on deck, getting out of the chair a bit and walking with your whānau and friends when home. Any activity on a regular basis will improve your physical and mental health.

Free Wellbeing Resources

Five Ways to Staying Ship Shape

As mentioned, The Five Ways to Staying Ship Shape have been adapted courtesy of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

You can introduce any of these actions into your life, any time, and it will improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Below are different size downloadable and printable Staying Ship Shape posters for your home or workplace.

This resource is a compilation of industry-specific FAQs to help those in the seafood sector.

Please click on the image below to view, download or print the Wellbeing FAQs resource.

Welcome to the Seafood Sector Support Pack

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand the multiple and complex legislation requirements that those who work in the seafood sector must comply with. We have put together a seafood sector support pack for new and existing workers to help you and your crew navigate these complex requirements.

Please click on each of the resources below to view, download or print them.

Martime Safety Screenshot
Maritime Transport Act 1994
Codes of Practice and Guides
Maritime Operater Safety System
Employment Relations
Health & Safety At Work Act 2015
Managing Employees
Fisheries Act 1996
Wills and Powers of Attorney

Managing Stress For Fishers

This resource has been developed for the fishing industry but contains helpful information for the whole seafood sector. This resource enables families to understand stress, it’s effect on us and provide tips on managing stress.

Learning to cope with stress is like developing a new skill and, once learned, it makes handling stress easier next time.

Please click on the image to view, download or print the Managing Stress For Fishers resource.

FirstMate New Zealand

If you would like to get in touch with FirstMate, visit them online at www.firstmate.org.nz to find out more or give them a call on 0800 ADRIFT (237 438) any day between 7am and 10pm to talk through what you need to stay on course.

If you need support outside of these hours or it is a mental health crisis, please take a look at the support available below.

Need Wellbeing Support Now?

In crisis? Here is where you can find help for you or someone important to you right now. Emergency contact numbers for free, professional emergency assistance right now, no matter where you live in New Zealand.

1. If this is an emergency phone 111

If anyone is in immediate physical danger.

2. Or go to your nearest hospital emergency department (ED)

3. Phone your local DHB Mental Health Crisis Team (CATT Team)

Select your region for contact numbers or ring Healthline 0800 611 116

4. If you need to talk to someone else:

Free call or text 1737 for support from a trained counsellor

Lifeline

0800 543 354

Free text 4357 (HELP)

Youthline

0800 376 633

Free Text 234

Samaritans

0800 726 666


Remember to ask your whānau, crew and work colleagues “Are you Ship Shape Mate?”