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diverse group of colleagues discussing the pay gap

Exploring better HR practices for mental health

This week 25 Maritime HR Association members joined a video call to discuss Mental Health and Wellbeing, organised by Spinnaker in collaboration with the Port of London Authority and Maritime UK.

One thing we could all agree on is that ‘We are doing OK, but we can do better’. When discussing staff engagement, the stigmas around mental health and what tools can be in place to assist HR professionals, we were pleased to see companies and leaders reaching out, sharing information and exploring better practices to make sure nobody suffers in silence in the workplace.

Before we begin… some important links and information:

Time to Talk Video
Mental Health Pledge
Mental Health Toolkit

Our session welcomed guest speaker, Stuart Pollard from the Port of London Authority (PLA). Stuart is passionate about creating open conversations surrounding mental health and wellbeing. He shared with us both his personal journey and the various methods PLA are using to support positive mental health in their workplace.

These include:

– Mental health at work plan – which is separate from the HR and Occupational Health plan to emphasise the importance.

– Employees are encouraged to go out into their local environment, highlighting the importance of nature in creating and maintaining positive mental health.

– Ensuring their leaders and managers have the right support available to handle mental health conversations with their teams.

– Mental Health First Aiders (with counselling support available) who provide headlines to management about the number of conversations they have had to do with stress, anxiety etc. This can then drive information and campaigns to help employees deal with these situations.

– Access to an Occupational Health physician / nurse.

We also saw companies offering weekly and monthly campaigns to promote positive mental health (including the importance of sleep and healthy eating), membership passes to National Trust to encourage exercise and mindfulness, and businesses introducing Mental Health programmes and policies that sit outside of the generic HR function, making it easy to find, follow and implement.

A key topic that arose during conversations was that of bridging the gap between seafarers and shore-based staff. One of our members has introduced specialised training through ISWAN’s ‘Mentally Healthy Ships’ programme, developed by independent clinical psychologist, Dr. Pennie Blackburn. This programme aims to support seafarers by equipping Senior Officers onboard with the tools to support crew mental health and wellbeing. They are committed to making sure crew have access to positive information such as disembarkation dates and potential promotions.

Future mental health and wellbeing sessions

All Maritime HR professionals are invited to join the next Maritime UK Mental Health in Maritime network meeting, taking place on 8th June 2021 (10:00 – 12:00 UK time), see: https://www.maritimeuk.org/priorities/people/diversity-maritime/events/mental-health-maritime-network-8-june-2021/

There are also a series of Culture of Care webinars planned for the coming months:

  • Wednesday, 2nd June, 12:00-13:30 (UK time) – Mental Health and Wellbeing terminology and language – demystifying myths. Register here:Online
  • Monday, 28th June, 11:00 – 12:30 (UK time) – Barriers to talking about mental health in the industry. Register here: Online
  • Thursday, 16th September, time TBC – Breaking down Stigma. In person during LISW with live streaming – venue to be sourced.
  • Monday, 11th October, 12:00 – 13:30 (UK time) – Suicide prevention: What does resilience mean? Online event, registration details to follow.

Become part of the Maritime HR Association

If you want to share HR challenges and best people practice with other maritime HR professionals, get in touch to find out more about our association via mhra@spinnaker-global.com or +44 (0)1702 481660.

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