Seafarers’ mental distress from prolonged stays onboard can now be addressed by a clinical professional through online training live stream
Seafarers’ mental health has come under the spotlight in the past year. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) recorded 300,000 crew members were stranded onboard due to pandemic travel restrictions, and another big group of seafarers unable to commence work. This crisis resulted in high rates of depression and anxiety.
Online mental health training
Live streaming mental wellbeing training is now available online led by a clinical professional. This session will be teaching seafarers vital skills to improve their mental wellbeing, with a large focus on the importance of speaking up. Participants will not only receive tips on managing insomnia, they will also get to have a private discussion with the psychologist on various mental health challenges.
The thoroughness of the course stemmed from the creator of the programme; Richard Turner, a former seafarer. He said promoting better mental health was most effective when change came from the top; with ship captains allowing crew the time and space to change patterns that could lead to problems. The training courses encourage people to get out of the cramped living conditions of their cabins and learn together in mess rooms, with this continuing even after courses have ended.
Turner added the programme offers a breathing space meditation activity as part of the course and one captain shared that his crew now gathers in the mess room and does this as a regular activity. “Seafarers are in a unique environment, where they are isolated from their families, and, before we did this, we did think some may find it difficult to talk about their feelings. We’ve been surprised and humbled to see people sharing their opinions, asking questions and supporting one another through the courses, which shows the value of talking when it comes to mental wellbeing,” Turner concluded.
The Digital Ship