Fish Safe NS launches mental health and wellness project for fishing industry
KATHY JOHNSON TRI-COUNTY VANGUARD kathy.johnson @saltwire.com
Mental health and wellness resources for the fishing industry are getting a boost from a new project launched by Fish Safe NS. “We are putting a focus on mental health because we hear these stories on the wharves how people are affected by injury, or things that have happened on the ocean or who have lost someone overboard," said Matthew Duffy, executive director of the non-profit organization. "They talk about the trauma that comes along with it, not just physical pain, but the mental side.” Fish Safe NS has launched one awareness video, with a second scheduled to premiere on the organization's social media and YouTube channels shortly. The organization is also giving its website a makeover and will have a portal with a complete section on mental health and wellness to make it easier for people to find help and resources that they can utilize, said Duffy. In addition, Fish Safe NS will be offering a one-day course, Mental Health for the Workplace, through St. John Ambulance, with 50 per cent off for members who enroll. “The course is not to make anyone certified to deal with mental health issues, but it helps to identify if someone is in distress or how to help a person find resources, so it just brings awareness,” said Duffy. “It's all about identifying and helping them get help so, hopefully, it can make a difference. We're also putting one of our safety advisors through the program to become an instructor.” Duffy said Fish Safe NS will be doing some more awareness videos on the industry's processing and aquaculture side, probably over the winter, spring and next summer. The first round of videos focuses on the harvesting side of the industry. Duffy said Fish Safe NS partnered with member company Mersey Seafoods on the project because it has been implementing mental health resources for its employees for several years now – before it became commonplace to be talked about. “Mental health and wellness is not just something that affects the fishing industry. It's provincewide regardless of what sector you work in. We're going to continue working on that and expanding it as much as possible,” said Duffy.