Wednesday 10 October is World Mental Health and with growing awareness and concern over the mental health of seafarers dislocated from family and friends for long periods it sees some new initiatives from the industry.

Seafarers of a certain age will remember the sardonic note that somebody would have inevitably stuck under the glass on the chart table or on the desk of the engine control room. “You don’t have to be mad to work here – but it helps” it said, which was a point worth thinking about with the body at its lowest ebb, on watch, about half an hour past midnight.

More than a quarter of seafarers show signs of depression – and many won’t ask for help, according to a new study carried out by international maritime charity sailors’ Society and Yale University.

Dubbing it the "silent killer" International SOS medical director Olivier Lo said at a panel at the Asia Maritime Breakfast briefing on -Seafarers Welfare post-MLC 2006, that more needs to be done to prevent suicides at sea.

“Seafarers required - preference will be given to stolid, pragmatic anti-social candidates who can demonstrate a lack of imagination”. That’s not serious, of course, but it might seem not too outrageous, as the life of the modern seafarer develops increasingly joyless characteristics.

The Master of a containership committed suicide on a voyage from New York to Tilbury in the UK.

The UK P&I Club is putting the spotlight on seafarer mental health with suicide the cause of 15% of deaths at sea.

Shipping and oil pioneer Kyriakos Mamidakis, whose oil company filed for bankruptcy last month, killed himself at his home in Athens on 3 July, according to a medical examiner's report.