SMOU believes that shipboard well-being and understanding of mental health plays a big part of personal and crew safety out at sea. Therefore, SMOU has been conducting webinars on this topic of mental wellness to educate and share handles with seafarers on how to have the upper hand in this invisible battle.
On 26 August 2022, SMOU in collaboration with Wavelink Maritime Institute and Impact Health, conducted a mental health webinar for seafarers and crew managers to be equipped with skills to manage their mental wellness. More than 200 participants from countries like the Philippines, India, Myanmar, Singapore and others showed up online at the webinar to learn more about this topic.
Opening the session was SMOU General Secretary, Ms Mary Liew. She thanked SMOU’s international seagoing members for the important work that they do to keep global supply chains moving, acknowledging the sacrifices and challenges that they had to endure during the pandemic. She also spoke about an upcoming training initiative that SMOU has in their pipelines to further support seafarers in this area of mental health through training courses.
Ms Cheng Chin Yi, Principal Psychologist from Impact Health followed by introducing herself and the areas the webinar will be covering. She went through topics such as identifying symptoms of stress, and how if not addressed, may develop to more severe conditions like anxiety and depression.
This was an important lesson as seafarers when they are out at sea, have limited access to medical professionals. As a result, crew members have to look out for each other to spot early signs of mental struggles so that they can support colleagues through their contracts and return home safely to their families and loved ones. The webinar also equipped seafarers with skills to build a positive work environment on board ships so that seafarers can enjoy a conducive and effective work environment.
The session ended off with a short question and answer segment where seafarers and crew managers cleared their doubts regarding mental health. The knowledge shared was valuable for all, as everyone left more informed about what they can do for their fellow seafaring colleagues in times of crisis, so that our ships can be safer and seafarers can become a network of support for one another.