A Pirate's Point of View

Pirates and Mental Health issues.

A life as a Pirate is fraught with events that create a greater possibility of mental health issues than life on land. Such issues could stem from a killer storm to seeing someone seriously injured or lose their lives. On land these issues would cause the sufferer to be seen as a kind of village idiot or worse, to be placed in an asylum. In anycase an end of life situation. Onboard ship things were different due to the confined socio environment. There were no ships idiots and no one was sent anywhere. Even if there was a Doctor onboard there was no knowledge of psychiatry at any level. So how did they cure a sufferer? Firstly they used comunial empathy whereby the entire crew would be on the understanding side of the sufferer.

For 30 to 40 Pirates telling you they love you has a great effect. Then they would create in the sufferer a large dose of Self Esteem which was done with a little trickery. For example, when there was little wind, the Captain would order a boat be launched for fishing.

The Captain several men and the sufferer would row off towards a fishing area. The Quartermaster of the ship would move the ship away from the area enough so after an hour or so the ship was no longer visible from the boat. At that point the Captain would ask,' Where's the ship' and togther with the men they would point in the opposite and wrong direction. The sufferer would know the direction of the ship and would be confused as eveyone pointed the wrong way.

He would then be asked which direction did he think the ship was and he would point the right way which was opposite to the Captains point. The ship after a hour or so would return to the original position. In the boat a man would shout out ' look our ship !' The Captain and and the men in the boat congratulating the sufferer for saving them from going the wrong way. Back onboard the ship the Captain and men from the boat would tell the crew how the sufferer got it right and the crew would be so gratefull to the sufferer for saving the Captain.

Pirates used many such obviously exagerated tricks which today seem quite banale but in those times they were quite effective. After the effects of Empathy, Love and the restoration of Self esteem it was was left to time to complete the cure. I don't know how many of the crew would have, at some time during their lives, suffered a Mental Illness but I can make a guess at about a third. It was of the upmost importance that the mental health onborad was always the best it could be. Otherwise an attack could go fatelly wrong.

The way of the Pirates could also be used today. In fact I would like to see loads of selected sufferers taken out on a boat not from a Pirate ship but from anywhere along the coast. Most sufferes usually have a sixth sense of direction and will somehow always know the direction home. After just a few hours on a boat they could come home with added self esteem, the base for rebuilding.

Today it seems Mental health is about words, millions of words. It's about psychiatry, psychoanalysis, rules, graphs and drugs. Pirates had non of these things but they did the job in a physicalway, a boat, water, non stop movement and a small problem. Perhaps it's time to put a little Piracy into Mental Health.

Love Tonz.