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  • ENG1 & mental health

    I didn't want to hijack the other thread, but it got me thinking. Does anyone know how mental health issues affect an ENG1? I seem to be a remember there is a box of it on the form you fill in but what happens if you tick yes?

    The m notice doesn't seem to be very clear unless I'm reading the wrong section. It seems that the fear of losing you ENG1 would put people of seeking help, it certainly does for me. Especially as one of the reasons people are anxious/depressed/stressed at the moment is losing their job and not being able to find work.

  • #2
    Also apologies for the delay slightly inappropriate emoji I'm not sure how that ended up there!

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    • #3
      Which M-notice? I would imagine that if you're at the end of the scale where inanimate objects move around the room and talk to you then it's an issue (I genuinely have a friend who experiences this), dealing with depression is at the other end of the scale...

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      • #4
        I believe the relevant m notice is msn1886 but I'm not sure how to interput the mental health requirements.

        I would like to believe what you say about them taking a sensible approach but this is the mca so that might be unlikely.

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        • #5
          You can find a decision aid from page 140 onward of the Doctors manual at the link below.

          If someone is experiencing symptoms of depression they are temporarily unfit for sea, they can get a time limited ENG1 if they're on medication and free from symptoms of depression, think it is a 3 month medical and maybe a geographical restriction while they're on medication, but the doctor will decide on a case by case basis.

          You can get a full 2 year medical if you've been free from symptoms of depression and off medication for 2 years. There are different decisions for more severe mental illnesses.

          I could be wrong but I think if anyone sees a GP and is diagnosed with any kind of mental illness you're meant to book a new ENG1 and not wait until your current ENG1 expires. If you're unsure contact the doctor that does your ENG1 and they will advise you if you need a new one.

          If someone joins a ship and they're on anti-depressants and they haven't had a new ENG1 since being diagnosed I think there is a possibility they might get in trouble if it is discovered at a later date. Better not to hide anything.

          https://assets.publishing.service.go..._July_2020.pdf

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Guest View Post
            You can find a decision aid from page 140 onward of the Doctors manual at the link below.

            If someone is experiencing symptoms of depression they are temporarily unfit for sea, they can get a time limited ENG1 if they're on medication and free from symptoms of depression, think it is a 3 month medical and maybe a geographical restriction while they're on medication, but the doctor will decide on a case by case basis.

            You can get a full 2 year medical if you've been free from symptoms of depression and off medication for 2 years. There are different decisions for more severe mental illnesses.

            I could be wrong but I think if anyone sees a GP and is diagnosed with any kind of mental illness you're meant to book a new ENG1 and not wait until your current ENG1 expires. If you're unsure contact the doctor that does your ENG1 and they will advise you if you need a new one.

            If someone joins a ship and they're on anti-depressants and they haven't had a new ENG1 since being diagnosed I think there is a possibility they might get in trouble if it is discovered at a later date. Better not to hide anything.

            https://assets.publishing.service.go..._July_2020.pdf
            So reading that it does seem like the current ENG1 system is likely to discourage people from seeking help as it could cause them to lose their job.

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            • #7
              I heard a story of a colleague who had some sort of mental health issue (not sure of the exact ins and outs) but I believe they ended up with a restricted ENG1 which limited their trip lengths to a maximum of 8 weeks. Be enough to lose your job with some employers I would've thought. This was second hand info and could be nonsense but its certainly the sort of thing that doesn't encourage seeking help for such issues.

              In fact, was there not a thread on here recently of someone who had a mental health issue which they disclosed to their company during their cadetship and instead of being given support to get through it, they were promptly given a restricted ENG1 and then dropped by their sponsor?

              Whilst working at sea is far from an ideal environment if you have mental health issues and in a lot of cases a life at sea may not be compatible with the conditions, stories like this show we probably have a significant way to go in terms of mental health support.

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              • #8
                It may be an unpopular opinion but I think only the sufferer can understand whether or not they’re fit to work at sea with depression. It’s a highly misunderstood condition that many doctors throw medicines at in the hope that it “cures it”, I’m sure doctors who are deciding whether or not you’re safe to sail at sea are going to assume you’ll commit suicide the first day onboard as they have 30 minutes to do the whole medical.

                As above, MCA approved doctors and sponsors can be pretty brutal on things that may or may not affect somebody’s ability to work at sea. The annoying part is that the moment you’re employed and actually working you have a lot more rights and more of a chance of staying in the job if you have issues.

                I don’t think anyone will ever find out if you’re taking anti-depressants onboard and haven’t disclosed a mental condition. It’s not like the captain does a regular inspection of your suitcase, that port authorities care about common drugs or that routine D&A testing picks up those drugs. Of course if you’re involved in an incident and have to supply blood for D&A testing (extremely unlikely) you’d have to answer a lot of questions on why you didn’t disclose the condition. But I’d imagine it would more highlight failures in the system rather than a personal failure.

                tl;dr if it was me, and I believed I was ok to work at sea, I wouldn’t tell anybody. If it was me and I believed working at sea would make my mental health even worse, I wouldn’t work at sea.

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                • #9
                  If anyone is diagnosed with depression under the current system you need to let a doctor know right away and not wait for your next routine medical, you will probably be noted as unfit for sea until you have no symptoms of depression.

                  It seems a bit of an extreme response, if someone has very mild depression and is on a very low dose of a mild anti-depressant they can easily function as well as if they weren't ill.

                  The current system of being noted as being unfit for sea with any level of clinical depression probably puts people off seeking help when their symptoms are quite mild, they might recover naturally over time or they might deterorate and things are worse than had they had help earlier

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                  • #10
                    In essence the ENG1 is geared up to force seafarers with depression into even more stressful situations, especially in an industry where sick pay is nearly non-existent.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by EH75 View Post
                      I heard a story of a colleague who had some sort of mental health issue (not sure of the exact ins and outs) but I believe they ended up with a restricted ENG1 which limited their trip lengths to a maximum of 8 weeks. Be enough to lose your job with some employers I would've thought. This was second hand info and could be nonsense but its certainly the sort of thing that doesn't encourage seeking help for such issues.

                      In fact, was there not a thread on here recently of someone who had a mental health issue which they disclosed to their company during their cadetship and instead of being given support to get through it, they were promptly given a restricted ENG1 and then dropped by their sponsor?

                      Whilst working at sea is far from an ideal environment if you have mental health issues and in a lot of cases a life at sea may not be compatible with the conditions, stories like this show we probably have a significant way to go in terms of mental health support.
                      Not surprised to hear this. There are still some absolute dinosaurs working in the maritime industry that live in the dark ages and expect others to do the same. One wonders why we even bother to go to sea anymore with the kind of bull**** that we have to put up with. Senior officers that would be the type to chuck you overboard if they could get away with it, narcissistic and psychopathic colleagues who inflict misery and toxicity upon others for kicks - the list goes on. Why do we tolerate such crap?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Guest View Post
                        Senior officers that would be the type to chuck you overboard if they could get away with it, narcissistic and psychopathic colleagues who inflict misery and toxicity upon others for kicks - the list goes on. Why do we tolerate such crap?
                        Sounds like you chose to work for a bad company? Most of the senior officers I’ve sailed with are approachable and supportive, as were the HR departments of the companies.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by agibbs98 View Post

                          Sounds like you chose to work for a bad company? Most of the senior officers I’ve sailed with are approachable and supportive, as were the HR departments of the companies.
                          You have got to be kidding. Chose? Do you think we all have a choice as junior officers in this climate to turn down work if we can get it? And how the hell were we supposed to know what the officers were going to be like - do I have a crystal ball that can see into the future? You speak as if it's my fault! I suppose your attitude makes sense if you are a friend of HR personnel, who's only there to protect the company. Figures. I wouldn't be surprised if you are a sociopath yourself, unable to relate to others as human beings.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Guest View Post

                            You have got to be kidding. Chose? Do you think we all have a choice as junior officers in this climate to turn down work if we can get it? And how the hell were we supposed to know what the officers were going to be like - do I have a crystal ball that can see into the future? You speak as if it's my fault! I suppose your attitude makes sense if you are a friend of HR personnel, who's only there to protect the company. Figures. I wouldn't be surprised if you are a sociopath yourself, unable to relate to others as human beings.
                            Jesus. I didn’t mean you chose, poor wording, my comment should have said:

                            “Sounds like you work for a bad company”

                            I’m a junior officer that has been working at the exact same time as you, don’t assume because people have recent positive experiences that they’re the sociopathic, toxic type of seafarer you’re talking about. I’ve left several companies because I didn’t like the crew I was with, each time I left to face unemployment. I can see my most recent cadets are doing the same now they’ve qualified, they’re moving about as they see fit trying to find where they’re happy.

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                            • #15
                              Agibbs98 I think you should be carful with some of your comments here and try to post with a bit more sensitivity, especially on threads regarding mental health. Just because have been very lucky enough to have done well in your career there are lots of people who are in a very different position.

                              A lot of people have lost their jobs in the last 6 months and are out of work, others like myself have taken whatever work they could get even if it is very poor pay and conditions. There is very little work out there for deck officers at the moment just have a look at the agency websites almost zero active vacancies for junior deck officers. I speak to recruiters regularly and they have all been saying the same thing, that there is very little work around and the few jobs there are are going to people who are considerably more qualified and experienced.

                              So maybe when you post just consider that not everyone has been as fortunate as you and are genuinely struggling with the current state of the industry.

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