After another accidental death/suicide in our industry - a 27-year-old man here in Palma last week, following the death of a 32-year-old yachtsman on Christmas Day in Grenada and a young 20-year-old Australian stewardess in Antibes in September, it is time that we do something!
So many youngsters in today’s industry are suffering from depression, eating disorders, bullying, sexual harassment and so on and really don't know where they can turn for support and advice. Those crew members who face these challenges and those who witness it – or who witness serious injuries, accidents or suicides aboard also need counselling and advice and this is where I feel we are all responsible.
We - a group of women and men involved in various ways in the Yachting and Well-Being industries here in Palma got our heads, hearts and minds together and organised an event on Wednesday 22nd May from 6-9pm at MC Palma.
We shall be joined by local Counsellors, Therapists, Medical Professionals and Yachting Industry Professionals who will offer advice and support and share information. The response to our networking thus far has been remarkable and heart-warming.
Our main two aims are:
1) To bring awareness to as many people as possible of the organisations who can offer help (and there are now quite a few, although very many people don't seem to know about them) PYA, Nautilus, Seafarers.org, ISWAN etc. and
2) To help to take the stigma out of mental and emotional disorders by showing people that they are not alone in their challenges with this and enabling them to seek help.
Although an extremely serious topic, we plan to make this event fun and informative so as to encourage yacht crew to participate. We hope to also attract other sectors of the industry - Yacht Management companies, Crew Recruitment agencies, Yacht Training Providers, Captains, Pursers and Heads of Departments, this is, after all, where a great deal of the responsibility for Crew Wellbeing lies.
This is not at all a commercial venture and we are not expecting any companies who are in competition in any particular sector to be competing with each other or specifically advertising their businesses at the event. We want this to be something everyone is proud to get behind and I truly believe that together we can make a difference. It is the start of something which is very much needed in the industry right now and I feel sure that the discussions at other similar events will be continued in Antibes and Monaco this Autumn - and in other venues thereafter.