Seasonal affective disorder

UK P&I Club’s Alex Sandom and Sophia Bullard have warned shipowners to be aware of the threat of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The health team members said that. with the onset of dark nights and colder days, many people became more lethargic, less motivated and began to experience lower moods than usual. A third of people in the UK suffered these general symptoms. However, one in 20 suffered from SAD, which the writers said could have a significant impact on a person’s daily life.

“A crew member’s ability to perform in their role is crucial for not only the safe transportation of goods, but also to stay safe and prevent injury to themselves and others. Seafarers can be affected by SAD just like the rest of us, and together with the daily stresses of the job, it can be easy for crew to feel overwhelmed, both mentally and physically”, they wrote.

There were many changes that can be made to mitigate the effects of SAD during winter.

These include:

  • More sunlight or, if this is not possible, a ‘light box’ that emits light similar to that of the sun.
  • More vitamin D in the sufferer’s diet
  • Exercising for 30 minutes a day.
  • Where possible, avoiding stressful situations, and taking steps to manage stress levels.

UK Club said that its Crew Health team were in regular contact with industry experts throughout the year, sourcing the latest advice.