The Seafarers’ Hospital Society (SHS) has announced a webinar series to help provide practical health and wellbeing advice to seafarers and their families, reports Paul Scott.

The series of seven 30-minute webinars will focus on key issues impacting seafarers, ranging from cancer detection and musculoskeletal health, to financial stressors and mental health.

Sandra Welch, chief executive officer of SHS, said: “Issues of this magnitude are difficult to resolve and often compound each other – something that has become rather obvious over the course of the pandemic, particularly for seafarer mental health.

“We have been supporting seafarers for 200 years and know how important it is to give individuals the tools to manage their wellbeing and also seek support.

“We know that asking for help and support is not easy, but we are happy to help either through our own financial assistance programmes or those of our partners.”

The charity says that the sessions will give seafarers and others the chance to ask questions and engage with experts on the various topics.

Recordings of the webinars, including last month’s which focused on cancer awareness, will also be made available on the SHS website.

Captain Kuba Szymanski, chair of SHS and secretary general of InterManager, said: “Despite recognition of the immense importance of seafarers to the supply chain, their welfare and wellbeing is rarely prioritised. This will harm the industry in the long term, particularly with regard to recruitment and retention of skilled staff.

“In addition to strong industry initiatives to tackle ongoing issues, seafarers must be empowered with information to manage their own health and wellbeing, and these webinars are a valuable tool.”

The SHS says it has launched the webinars in response to the ‘ongoing pandemic, geopolitical unrest and increasing operational and administrative burdens’.

It said: “Not only do individuals face uncertainty around access to crew change, healthcare and vaccinations, but extended contract lengths, operating in high-risk areas and the risk of abandonment can also impact mental and physical wellbeing.

“In many cases, there are also knock-on effects such as nutritional deficiencies, stress and unhealthy coping mechanisms, financial insecurity, poor time management, dissolution of interpersonal relationships, and more.”

The next webinar takes place on 27 April at 12pm, and is presented by Joanne Spencer, account manager at Togetherall, and Ceri Summers, mental health practitioner at the SeaFit Programme and Fairwinds Cornwall. The topic for the webinar is ‘Healthy Minds’.

To register, click here and for further information, contact: admin@seahospital.org.uk

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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