Life onboard is facing new challenges amid the COVID-19 crisis, as seafarers have to be extra persistent when it comes to their hygiene routine, they have to be cautious in case of an infected person onboard, while the whole shipping industry, such as flag States, companies and masters, have to collaborate to ensure seafarers’ safety and follow measures for the virus’ containment.
The outbreak has expanded from Mainland China to Europe – with Italy leading with COVID-19 cases – and the US, increasing the feeling of doubt amongst seafarers, who now have to adapt to a new shipping environment.
The world has literally gone into quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is an unprecedented crisis situation in terms of breadth and scale, from a global health, social and economic standpoint.
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. Therefore, the whole maritime community has responded by issuing guidance and instructions on what measures should be taken to avoid contagion.
In this context, the American Club has gathered useful mental health resources for those in need. In the circular below, details may be found concerning the following organizations and many others that provide mental health prevention services to crew members 0n 24/7 basis.
The Samatarians: A UK based organization that provides suicide and mental health prevention services 24/7, available to anyone in need of assistance in multiple locations around the globe.
ISWAN: The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network promotes seafarers welfare worldwide and directly serves seafarers by providing a 24 hour helpline. ISWAN is the result of a merger between the International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare (ICSW) and the International Seafarers Assistance Network (ISAN). ISWAN is a membership organisation with the International Chamber of Shipping, The International Transport Workers Federation and the International Christian Maritime Association as the core members.
SeafarerHelp: SeafarerHelp is the free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers and their families available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. SeafarerHelp is provided by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), an organisation that works to promote the welfare of seafarers and their families.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.
National Hopeline Network: IMAlive: Provides 24/7 crisis counseling for those who are thinking of suicide and for those worried that someone may commit suicide. Callers are connected to the nearest certified crisis counseling center.
Sailors’ Society: The Sailors’ Society Wellness at Sea App provides interactive challenges on each of the five elements of Wellness at Sea: Social, Emotional, Physical, Intellectual and Spiritual. Users receive daily feedback enabling them to monitor their progress. Android and iPhone compatible, completely free.
ASOL Seamen Relief Fund: The 0rganization provides: Provision of primary necessities; Social -economical activity; Psychological and psychosocial support;Legal aid, advice.
Natasha Goulbourn Foundation: a nonprofit organization that partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) along with top schools in the Philippines.
The Mission to Seafarers: Any distressed/troubled seafarer of any race, nationality or religion may call the listed phone nos. day or night at any time. The Mission conducts ship visits to offer help, support and advice. They also have a few seafarers’ centres at/near the port premises where a seafarer may walk-in for food and drink and relax. Wi-fi and phone/skype connections are also available. The counsellors and/or chaplains offer assistance including contacting the seafarers’ family and finding local support and additional advice as deemed necessary.
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