Focusing on Seafarer Wellbeing - Mental wellbeing
16 December 2019
* PLEASE NOTE the Standard Club Seafarer Wellbeing Poster campaign was designed to focus on four topics considered to have the biggest impact on seafarer wellbeing in modern times, with advice appropriate for the time of release, November 2019. While it continues to be relevant to the daily lives of present-day seafarers, it does not reflect the impact due to the current world health pandemic, COVID-19. You should follow the latest advice on how to care for your health and protect others during the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the World Health Organisation (WHO) website and through your national and local public health authority.*
Seafarer wellbeing has been a focal topic for The Standard Club's Loss Prevention team, particularly in recent years. Seafarer wellbeing is a holistic concept combining physical, mental, and social wellbeing. People often forget how mental and physical wellbeing are linked. You can only be as happy as you are healthy, in body and mind!
This article focuses on mental wellbeing. Posters dedicated to this topic are attached on the right.
The Standard Club’s ‘people claims’ statistics indicate a clear upward trend of mental health related illnesses.
Being out at sea for extended periods of time means that you may miss precious moments with those at home, which can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing. It is never easy being away from friends and family. Whenever you miss your loved ones, call them. If you need help or a listening ear, reach out to the mental champion on board or your fellow seafarers and talk to them. A mental champion is trained to recognise and assist with mental problems in others, to provide a listening ear and serve as a bridge to connect a troubled seafarer to professional help.
Seafarers should where possible, encourage positive mental wellbeing on board, and exercise is also a simple yet effective way of doing so. When one exercises, there is a release of the ‘happy hormones’ serotonin and endorphins, promoting a sense of happiness, well-being and contentment.
Further emotional support, and if necessary, counselling, can also be provided remotely. The organisations listed below provide a helpline service that is available 24/7 globally. Meaning that there will always be someone on the other end of a line, ready for a chat whenever you want to talk.
ISWAN - https://www.seafarerswelfare.org/
The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) is a membership organisation which works to promote and support the welfare of seafarers all over the world.
ISWAN delivers support via a helpline called ‘SeafarerHelp’, which operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year for seafarers and their families. It is available to any seafarer, or their family, globally. SeafarerHelp will try to assist with any kind of a problem and can be contacted by email, Facebook, LiveChat, telephone, Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, SMS text and vk.com. They speak 12 different languages including Filipino, Hindi, Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic. Operatives have been trained by the Samaritans, counsellors and a clinical psychologist to further enhance their skills in these areas.
ISWAN can also help with relief funds for seafarers and their family members in need and a range of health information resources.
SeafarerHelp is available 24/7:
Phone: +442073232737 (free call back)
The Mission to Seafarers is one of the largest port-based welfare services in the world, operating in over 200 ports across 50 countries. It has a team of professional chaplains who can offer pastoral support, counselling, financial assistance and crisis support. In addition, it operates an email referral service providing seafarers with up-to-date advice on mental health, labour rights and other vital support services.
Sailors' Society - www.sailors-society.org
International maritime charity Sailors’ Society has been transforming the lives of seafarers and their families for more than 200 years through the delivery of chaplaincy, education and the relief of poverty and distress.
The charity works internationally to provide practical, emotional and spiritual welfare support to the world’s 1.6m seafarers, regardless of background or faith. Sailors’ Society chaplains and ship visitors have a presence in more than 90 global ports, with wider projects and services covering 30 countries. Sailors’ Society’s Crisis Response Network provides a rapid response trauma care and counselling service for survivors of piracy attacks, natural disasters and crises at sea.
The Crisis Response Network provides a rapid response trauma care and counselling service for survivors of piracy attacks, natural disasters and crises at sea. You can email the emergency team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the emergency contact in your region:
Africa: Rev J.D. van Schalkwyk - 0027 8330 18022
Asia: Gavin Lim - 0065 9222 4600
Europe: Marc Schippers - 0032495 185691
India: Manoj Joy - 0091 9884 140950
The Philippines: Iris Picardal - 0063 9175 782 118
You are never alone; support is only one call away.
For more information on this topic, please read the full article linked on the right, which provides tips, advice and information to help you educate yourself, your crew, and promote positive health and wellbeing onboard the ship.