Seafarers’ Mental Health is Focus of New Training Program
KVH Videotel introduced a new training package, “Seafarers Mental Health and Wellbeing,” during 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 program was produced in association with the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and comprises a short video, facilitator notes, and information booklets from ISWAN on mental health issues at sea.
“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 program 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, seafarer’s 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. “Seafarers Mental Health and Wellbeing” focuses on what seafarers can do to cope with the challenges but also to take advantage of the many opportunities on board. It underlines the importance of rest, diet, team activities, and maintaining good relationships. Talking to a trusted person on board ship may help, and there is also help available outside the ship such as the 24/7 multilingual helpline and chat service at SeafarerHelp.org, as well as the work of port-based organizations such as Mission to Seafarers.
ISWAN’s brochures are being distributed as part of this training package, available as downloads from the dedicated KVH Videotel website. In addition, KVH Videotel is providing brief facilitator notes to assist those who will use this program to run training sessions on vessels.
“Seafarers’ Mental Health and Well being” was produced with overwhelming support from within the industry. Steering group members include: Anglo-Eastern Ship Management Ltd; Associated British Ports; International Maritime Employers’ Council; International Maritime Organization (IMO); “K” Line LNG Shipping (UK) Limited; The Mission to Seafarers; Nautilus International; Sailors’ Society; Shell International Ltd; The Shipowners’ Club; Swire Pacific Offshore; John H. Whitaker (Tankers) Ltd. Seafarers UK and other organisations are assisting with distribution and promotion of the training package.