Global maritime charity Stella Maris has collaborated with Mental Health Support Solutions (MHSS) to provide mental health booklets for seafarers to help them tackle the pressures of working for months at sea. The booklet provides the seafarers with simple yet powerful tips and strategies for practicing good mental hygiene while at sea. Issues that have been covered in the booklet include the importance of socialization and staying safe while working.
Been announced on World Mental Health Day 10th October, the collaboration aims at Stella Maris chaplains in the UK distributing the MHSS booklet ‘A Guide to Mental Health at Sea’ to crew members during their daily ship visits.
The guide is aimed at raising the awareness of mental health at sea, complementing the well-being strategies that MHSS, a provider of 24/7 psychological support to the maritime industry, develops for companies.
“Everyone’s mental health fluctuates in response to life events,” states Stella Maris Chief Executive Martin Foley.
“For seafarers, the ups and downs of life are magnified by many aspects of the job, especially being away from their families for long periods and not being able to control or help with events at home. We are particularly pleased to be working with MHSS to give seafarers some of the tools necessary to improve their own and others’ mental health.”
Christian Ayerst, CEO of MHSS, said: “It’s common knowledge that the stresses and strains of working at sea can have a detrimental effect on crew members’ mental health. However, their anxieties are likely heightened by the extraordinary times we’re living in, with seafarers unable to get off ships or be repatriated because of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“Our guide, created by MHSS psychologists with maritime industry experience, is a vital resource for any mariner struggling with their mental health or working with someone who may be suffering.”
When several cruise ships were moored long-term in Glasgow, a cruise company invited a Stella Maris chaplain onto its vessels after recognizing the importance of faith of its crew members. Consequently, the chaplain arranged regular services for the staff who remained on the ships.
“Stella Maris chaplains and ship visitors worldwide conduct up to 70,000 ship visits a year around the globe,” added Ian Stokes, Stella Maris’ Head of Corporate Engagement and Partnerships. “They play an integral part in helping seafarers cope with hugely stressful jobs, and the MHSS guide now gives them another tool in their armoury.”