Port Wings News Network:
At the 5th Annual International Shipowning & Shipmanagement Summit in London, a new training package produced by KVH Videotel and ISWAN was introduced for seafarers worldwide.
The package, ‘Seafarers’ Mental Health and Wellbeing’ will be available free of charge throughout the industry due to the critical importance of the topic. The programme was produced in association with ISWAN and comprises a short video, facilitator notes, and information booklets from ISWAN on mental health issues at sea.
Mark Woodhead, KVH senior vice president for EMEA, said, “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.”
Mark Woodhead stated: “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, 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 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 ISWAN’s 24/7 multilingual helpline, SeafarerHelp, as well as the work of port-based organisations 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 programme to run training sessions on vessels.
‘Seafarers’ Mental Health and Wellbeing’ 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.