Mental Health

In partnership with Women in Seafood Australasia, mental health is one of SIA’s main priorities.

Not all are fishers are okay – and that is not okay.

SIA has successfully lobbied the Federal Government to provide industry-specific funding for a mental health support program, as provided many other sectors including land-based farmers and builders.

As part of Seafood Industry Australia’s 2019 Federal Election package, we asked for funding to provide support for our industry to help break the stigma associated with poor mental health and for our people to find the help they need. In its pilot phase, our program focuses on training trusted industry members as mental health advocates to help connect those in need with existing services.

Talking about mental health is not always the easiest conversation to have, but now more than ever it is the most important conversation to have.

If you, or someone you know, needs help or support please call:

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 463
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800

Mental Health fast facts

  • According to research*, Australia’s commercial fishers are suffering from twice the level of psychological stress than any other sector.
    • Dr Tanya King, Maritime Anthropologist, Deakin University studied the high rate of mental health problems among Australia’s fishers and found chronic job insecurity has led to high rates of suicide among fishers.
    • Dr King’s research showed levels of “high” and “very high” psychological distress among fishers, which are almost double those reported by the general public.
    • Industry workers feel their work is “culturally undervalued” or misunderstood. With almost a third of industry dissuaded from addressing their physical and mental health problems because they feel their GP doesn’t understand the pressures of the fishing industry.
    • Significant contributing factors to these mental health problems are ongoing attacks against the industry’s well-managed fisheries and the continued threat to resource access.
  • Despite us facing similar mental health issues to other agricultural sectors, fishers across mainland Australia do not currently have access to a formal support network that can connect them with existing services and programs to improve their wellbeing.
    • The Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC) has launched project Stay Afloat, providing fisher-friendly mental health support network. We would like to see this kind of model extended to all states and territories.
  • Like land-based farmers, fishers are a proud and stoic bunch who can struggle to admit when they may need to reach out for help. As an industry we need people who are trained to look out for warning signs and know how to approach a conversation with someone regarding their mental health.

*Research led by Dr Tanya King, Maritime Anthropologist, Deakin University.

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