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How can you cope with work-related depression?

You no doubt chose to go into the maritime industry because of a love of the sea (or perhaps you have developed one after years of working in such an industry). Yet despite your affinity for sea travel, you may experience times where being out on the ocean for extended periods can be emotionally and psychologically taxing. This is understandable; while at sea, your movements on your vessel are limited. You may suffer from a want of companionship (even while in the presence of your crew members). Consecutive days of seeing nothing on the horizon can also be unsettling. All of this can lead to a deep sense of depression. 

If you work in the maritime industry has led to your depression, know that you are not alone; according to the results of a joint study undertaken by Yale University and the Sailors’ Society, 26 percent of professionals in positions similar to yours have experienced depression while at sea. Recommended coping mechanisms for depression include the following: 

  • Implementing a healthier diet
  • Being more physically active
  • Engaging with family and friends on a more frequent basis 
  • Seeking professional counseling

The trouble is that seeking such treatment may often require you to take time away from work. Your primary concern then becomes how you will support yourself. Maintenance and cure benefits are available to help those in your position whose injuries were sustained while in the service of their vessels (maintenance benefits will help cover your day-to-day expenses, while cure is meant to help cover the costs of treatment). If a clinician or psychiatric professional can support your claim that your depression is related to your work, then you should reasonably expect that such benefits will be extended to you? 

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