Seafarers Wellbeing—Mental Health Aboard


Seafarers Wellbeing—Mental Health Aboard 

Mental wellbeing is a foundational principle of VIKAND’s total healthcare solutions, the services we provide, and continually evolves. Our goals are to meet the requirements of seafarers, to respond to collaborative needs of industry stakeholders and our clients, and to meet advancing technology. It all starts with sensible and consistent strategies for mental health and wellness. 

In 2022, Global Maritime Forum (GMF) received 188 essays from 27 countries as part of its Future Maritime Leaders competition. Apurva Chaubal, a 24-year-old Associate Voyage Manager with Maersk Tankers from Mumbai, India, discussed the restoration of seafaring as one of the world’s most prestigious careers in her essay, “Mental Health & Inclusion: Prioritizing the Need for Awareness & Training.”  

In fact, Apurva’s essay—which addressed seafarers’ long work hours, low pay, loneliness, and mental health—won the competition. In it, she writes, “Seafarers are the backbone of maritime trade, and it is our responsibility to equip them with the required skillsets and training. Pre-sea training courses should include topics such as stress management, anxiety, dealing with trauma or crisis, and suicide intervention and prevention.” 

Delta Airlines’ Approach to Crew Mental Health 

Working at sea for extended periods takes a toll; the importance of seafarer mental wellness has never been clearer. Seafarer human sustainability—and its cornerstone of mental wellbeing—is as essential a mission as digitalisation and decarbonization. For today’s maritime operators to survive and thrive into the future, a supportive environment, open lines of communication and access to mental health services are vital.  

There are efforts to create meaningful resources. As conversations risk becoming rhetorical, a look at aviation, and Delta Airlines, is revealing and compelling. 

In its October 2022 article, “How Airlines Help Employees to Manage Mental Health,” Simple Flying cites Delta Airlines’ approach to giving employees access to extensive resources supporting mental health.  

Delta believes that supporting the whole employee through physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing is our privilege and responsibility all year round. That’s why we provide a number of services under each of our four wellbeing pillars—and why earlier this year Delta introduced unprecedented mental health resources including 12 free therapy sessions per issue per year, for each employee and member of their household. 

In addition, mental health coaches are located at most of our major hubs to offer in-the-moment support to employees. Meanwhile, our mental health physician on staff continues engaging directly with employees to destigmatize mental health and build meaningful programs and resources that are easy to access both on location and online. 

In general industry, there are ample examples of the results that sound mental wellness strategies and programs provide.  

  • 20% — Companies with happy employees outperform by 20%. 

  • 50% — Close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%. 

  • 91%  Employees at companies that support mental health feel motivated to do their best. 

VIKAND’s Approach to Seafarers’ Mental Health 

At CrewConnect Global in November 2022, Amy White, VIKAND’s Director of Medical Operations, said, “It is vital that we de-stigmatize mental health problems by educating crew that mental health issues can be dealt with early on and can be assisted whilst on board, depending on the situation and resources available. We must encourage a culture where seafarers are not afraid to speak up if they are suffering or if they recognize a colleague is having mental health issues. In addition to this, we strongly encourage that those repatriated for mental health issues should have a secondary review of their Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME) to re-join their vessels once recovered as per the recommendations from IMO/ILO/MLC. Seafarers should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis rather than a one-size fits all approach.” 

To meet crew’s needs in real time, as part of our total healthcare solutions, VIKAND offers its Mental Health services, a 24/7 mental health service staffed with maritime psychologists and support teams. They provide crew, onboard managers, and supervisors the support they need to maintain a healthy mindset. They have direct experience in the maritime industry, many have worked on vessels and have acted as consultants for international maritime organisations. 

With this knowledge, they're able to connect with crew members on a deeper level and prescribe tailored techniques to improve their mental wellness at sea.  

VIKAND Offers Crew Immediate Mental Health Access 
  • 24/7 Counselling 

The VIKAND team is available anytime to address concerns, challenges or questions that may arise. 

  • 24/7 Access to Maritime Professionals 

VIKAND’s support team and psychologists understand the onboard environment and can provide relevant support.  

  • Strict Confidentiality 

Calls between crew and our team are completely confidential and adhere to HIPAA and GDPR laws. 

  • Follow-Up Services 

Receive ongoing support as long as necessary to resolve pending concerns. 

There is No Health without Mental Health 

“There is no health without mental health,” says the World Health Organization in its Sustainable Development Goals. “We need to transform our attitudes, actions and approaches to promote and protect mental health, and to provide and care for those in need.” 

Click here to learn more about MAP and how your crew’s mental wellness is VIKAND’s top priority. 

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Subscribe to our VIKAND Pulse to receive the latest maritime healthcare news from VIKAND sent right to your inbox
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