We need your help to ensure our fishers are okay.
SIA was created to be your voice and to help unite the industry; and we have been working hard to do just that. One of our main priorities is mental health.
Not all are fishers are okay – and that is not okay.
We need the Federal Government to get on board and provide the seafood industry with the same level of focus and funding for mental health support that it gives many other sectors including land-based farmers and builders.
As part of Seafood Industry Australia’s 2019 Federal Election package, we have asked for $1 million 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. We have suggested this could be through accessing support from the Royal Flying Doctor Service or by training 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.
It is crucial we unite and take every opportunity to inform our politicians of our campaign to secure funding to support our fishers.
We all have an important part to play in this outcome and that is why we are calling on your voice. Enclosed in this envelope, you will find business cards we have created for you with our top three points on mental health and the top five people you can contact, to help a mate.
We’ve included extra cards for you to share around, these are a great way to start the conversation with friends or family members about the support our industry needs. Please ask them to make phone calls too.
Also, we’ve enclosed a list of talking points to give you all the information you need to confidently communicate facts and figures regarding the mental health issues facing our industry.
If you need any further information please reach out to Seafood Industry Australia or Women in Seafood Australasia.
If you, or someone you know, is seeking crisis support please call:
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue – 1300 22 463
- Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
Jane Lovell and Karen Holder
CEO, Seafood Industry Australia and SA Director and Vice President, WISA
Mental Health talking points
- 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.
- We are asking for $1 million 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.
- This could be through accessing support from an organisation like the Royal Flying Doctor Service or by training industry members as mental health advocates to help connect those in need with existing services.
- As fishers, our priority is the ocean. We advocate the health, sustainability and future of our sea. It’s our livelihood and the future livelihood of generations to come.
*Research led by Dr Tanya King, Maritime Anthropologist, Deakin University.