Our Regional Director in South Asia, Chirag Bahri, spoke to seafarers about mental health and wellbeing at Campbell Shipping’s annual seminar on 29 January in Mumbai.
With various reports highlighting a rise in the number of incidents where seafarers have required mental health interventions at sea, sensitising seafarers on mental wellbeing is a vital part of equipping them for life on board.
Chirag spoke to seafarers at the shipping company’s annual seminar about how it is fine to talk about mental health issues with the same openness as physical health issues. He encouraged the seafarers to help and support each other during traumatic times. He also brought their attention to ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp – our multilingual helpline which provides a listening ear for seafarers under stress and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
While good communication with family members back home is important, it can sometimes also be a source of additional stress or worry. Chirag recommended that the seafarers use onboard internet services wisely during their free time. He also stressed the importance of having crew cohesion on board and addressing issues of social isolation, especially for those who have joined the ship for the first time. He referred to ISWAN’s Good Mental Health Guides, which are easy to read and understand and available in Hindi and English. Chirag also highlighted the UK National Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Committee’s guidelines for shipping companies on mental health awareness.
Finally, Chirag urged seafarers to join ships through registered manning agents only and spread awareness among their colleagues and friends so they would not fall prey to non-registered agents. You can find out more about our campaign against non-registered manning agents here.
Chirag thanked the company for providing a platform from which ISWAN could interact with seafarers. The company’s senior management in turn thanked Chirag for enlightening the crew on this important subject and setting the tone for rest of the seminar.