Seafarers UK is working to support the distribution and promotion of an exciting new mental health and wellbeing training package for seafarers.
KVH Videotel introduced their new training package, ‘Seafarers Mental Health and Wellbeing,’ on 16 October at the 5th Annual International Shipowning & Shipmanagement Summit in London, and announced that the package will be available free of charge throughout the industry due to the critical importance of the topic.
The programme was produced in association with the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and comprises a short video, facilitator notes (to assist those who will use this programme to run training sessions on vessels), and information booklets on mental health issues at sea. ‘Seafarers’ Mental Health and Wellbeing’ was produced with overwhelming support from within the industry, with Seafarers UK and other organisations assisting with the distribution and promotion of the training package.
‘Seafarers face unique working conditions which can put them under tremendous stress, with fewer opportunities for relief than they would be likely to find on land,’ says Mark Woodhead, KVH senior vice president for EMEA. ‘This programme not only presents information from industry experts but also lets seafarers themselves tell their own story in interviews and short statements, describing the path to achieving happiness.’
If left unaddressed, stress can result in danger to one’s self by way of lowered morale, increased human error, lifestyle illnesses, decreased productivity, burnout and mental health issues. The ‘Seafarers Mental Health and Wellbeing’ training package focuses on what seafarers can do to cope with the challenges, but also to take advantage of the many opportunities onboard. It underlines the importance of rest, diet, team activities, and maintaining good relationships. Talking to a trusted person onboard ship may help, and there is also help available outside the ship such as the 24/7 multilingual helpline and chat service part-funded by Seafarers UK, SeafarerHelp.org, as well as the work of port-based welfare charities and organisations.