While most crew will happily chat about the great new workout, a diet, a hike they just completed, amazing massage they had, very few share about working on their mental health, especially with professional help.
Physical and mental health should be your goal and openly spoken about.
Finally, this is slowly changing for the better, awareness is growing and the sooner we open up & speak about it, the sooner we can start to make a change and find solutions.
Definition: Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. (mentalhealth.gov)
Every time I read that, I am astonished that it’s still taboo, because it is a key element, for the wellbeing of every one of us. .
The yachting industry is known for maintaining the highest standards, top service, during long hours in cramped personal space, while sacrificing individual identity and being away from your support circle. It’s the perfect cocktail for feeling stressed, isolated and overwhelmed, leading to inevitable conflict with oneself, employers or fellow crew.
Comparing Yachting to the corporate world or professional athletes, there are so many similarities. High stress, super competitive, lack of sleep, removed from family or loved one support and tight deadlines. The major difference between these industries is the attention and openness towards mental health as it relates to the wellbeing of the individual, team and company.
CEO’s, actors, athletes and other celebrities are more and more seeking professional support and doing it more openly & sharing it.
Arguably the best rugby team in history, The All Blacks, are supporting a moment against silence campaign – to call out the silence around mental health by making a minute of noise. Maybe you saw it during the match against Tonga?
Despite its colossal social burden, mental disorders remain in the shadows with a stigma, prejudice, shame & fear attached. The issue is becoming increasingly significant around the world & the yachting industry has no immunity.
- More than 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression & about 275 million people are dealing with anxiety disorders
- Suicide is one of top 5 leading causes of death worldwide
- Men are most likely to die of suicide then women
And the list goes worryingly on…
Depression & Anxiety are two of the most common issues and either can lead to a sense of isolation, feeling worthless or disappointed in oneself. Disconnection with your environment and creating a disconnect with yourself, mentally & emotionally. If ignored can lead to self-harm & suicide.
There are many avenues to support people when feeling this way and as a Life & Career Coach it worries me that my industry is often viewed through a similar stigma as mental health, so I would like to share something from my professional experience…
Coaching is about creating a comfortable and safe space for you to open up and chat about your current life, career & challenges. A good coach acts like a mirror, reflecting back, challenging your thoughts & emotions, exploring possibilities & coping mechanisms. We guide you towards a constructive & realistic plan, holding you accountable for the actions that you choose and changes you wish to make.
As you can see nothing really strange or scary about that. In my practice, yacht crew come to have sessions, to deal with stress, anxiety or conflict onboard. They feel emotionally drained and misunderstood, some suffer from bullying, or missing their loved ones and feel lonely. Others want to develop better skills to communicate clearly, manage their team better & develop career growth.
Now the interesting part: If someone is investing their time & money in a coach to feel better, be more balanced & there for a better crew-member – why are the majority unwilling to mention this onboard? If it was a nutritionist, the gym, personal trainer, chiropractor …. It would be totally “normal” & accepted, and this doesn’t make any sense. Why is physical development applauded but seeing a person to help with your emotional, or mental health is still perceived as being weak? This has to change!
Everyone, regardless of their chosen industry, goes through tough times at some stage of their lives, so it’s likely to affect us all sooner or later and the solutions would be so much easier and faster, if we could all engage the topic without fear of recrimination.
Benefits of investing in your mental & emotional wellbeing are being happier & stronger, develop better communication skills – no bottling up or the eventual bursting out your stress to others, healthy behaviours & more quality “me” time and foremost release stress by talking about it.
The morale of the story is do not struggle in silence! Everyone goes through tough times and you should not feel embarrassed about it. You are not alone, possibly someone in your entourage, boat is feeling the same.
If you or someone you care about, is struggling, please address it. Gently open up the conversation, be open & honest. Give your time with compassion, because it takes courage & vulnerability to open up. I invite you not to judge.
If various governing bodies are unable to properly regulate suitable measures in any meaningful way, it will be up to the individuals to change their way of thinking. This can and should happen to all crew, but especially department heads, captains and owners, to adopt this new paradigm, so they can lead by example.
Because it may help avoid sad consequences while also benefiting the team you already have. Creating a stronger community support, increasing the team-spirit, strengthening leadership skills and with all of that you have a crew performing successfully their seasons & feeling cared about.
I hope this article is part of this de-stigmatisation & inspires you to be part of it. Let’s stop the judgment & silence.
When you go and seek professional help, be proud to come back onboard and say I have had a great session with my life & career coach, psychologist, counsellor.
And to fellow peers, I hope you acknowledge his/her courage & investment in their well-being!
I really believe Yachting can be a leading example & an industry where personal wellbeing matters, is promoted & cultured.
Take good care.
Something about the mental health /self-care retreat
Coaching Palma & SixthSenseMallorca, are hosting their Reset & Recharge retreat focusing on Mental Health & Selfcare after the exhausting summer season. Blending coaching & yoga to give you that space to let go, talk & feeling energized in a stunning location on Mallorca.