Seafarers Hospital Society has joined forces with the Big White Wall to provide mental health and wellbeing advice and support service to working seafarers based in the UK who may be struggling to cope. The service has now been extended to the families of working seafarers, with the Sailors’ Children’s Society (SCS).
Big White Wall provides online support 24/7 in a safe, supportive and anonymous environment. Services include access to trained counsellors, a support network, self-help materials and one to one therapy.
In an era where most working people have less time and more stress, mental health has risen as a big topic for every industry, and the maritime world could not stay unaffected. Mental health issues in shipping industry relate to the nature of seafarers’ job which is characterized not only by intensive work hours, but also by isolation, being away from family for too long, fatigue, and many others.
So far the majority of seafarers accessing the service have been using the information and self-help resources or chatting to like-minded people about their problems. Live therapy is also available – it’s just like conventional face to face therapy but it’s delivered online via webcam, audio or instant messaging.
In addition, life onboard is currently facing new challenges amid the COVID-19 crisis and the feeling of fear and doubt on how the crisis will evolve has led to stress and panic, something that affects the seafarers during their everyday routine. Apart from the solution described above, there are also many other services available to seafarers and their families in need, such as ISWAN’s SeafarersHelp.