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Seafarers Hospital Society Launches Webinar Series.

The ongoing pandemic, geopolitical unrest and increasing operational and administrative burdens pose an ongoing challenge to seafarer health and wellbeing. Not only do these 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.

In response, Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) has organised a series of short webinars with our strategic partners to give practical advice and increase awareness of available resources for seafarers and their loved ones. For example, seafarers may face a great deal of difficulty making and keeping doctor’s appointments for health check-ups as their contract lengths and shore leave are often subject to restrictions and deferrals. The SHS webinars will educate seafarers about the signs and symptoms for early warnings for cancer and demonstrate how to check themselves. This may help avert a late diagnosis and increase peace of mind.

Sandra Welch, the Chief Executive Officer of SHS says, “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.”

“Our series of webinars will empower seafarers to make the best possible choices for themselves even if they are working under difficult conditions. We believe that this information supplements ongoing efforts by the industry to bring about systemic change,” she added.

Captain Kuba Szymanski, Secretary-General of InterManager, says, “We recognise the immense importance of seafarers to the supply chain and believe their welfare and well-being should be prioritised. Despite recognition of the immense importance of seafarers to the supply chain, their welfare and wellbeing is rarely prioritised. This is important in order not to 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 30-minute webinars, held on the last Wednesday of each month at 12.00 BST, will focus on a key issue impacting seafarers ranging from cancer detection and musculoskeletal health to financial stressors and mental health. The sessions will allow seafarers and others to ask questions and engage with experts on these topics.

The recordings will be made available on the SHS website to ensure that the information remains readily available.

The Schedule for the Webinar Series is as follows:

Webinar 1:
Cancer Awareness

Darren Couchman (Community Engagement Manager, Robin Cancer Trust)
Carol Elliot (Programme Delivery Manager, SeaFit Programme)

Working at sea makes it difficult sometimes to make appointments for regular check-ups. Raising awareness about early detection and diagnosis of cancer is key to saving lives.

Webinar 2:
Healthy Minds

Joanne Spencer (Account Manager, Togetherall)
Ceri Summers (Mental Health Practitioner, Seafit Programme & Fairwinds Cornwall)

Working at sea can be challenging and impacts mental health. We offer free, confidential mental health and well-being services via Togetherall. SHS also offers mental health support to fishers through the Seafit programme.

Webinar 3:
Advice for Peace of Mind

Miles Cowley (Manager, Seafarer Advice & Information Line [SAIL])
Geraldine Cassidy (Senior Advisor, Seafarer Advice & Information Line [SAIL])

Financial distress can be sudden and unpredictable. SHS aims to raise awareness regarding financial stressors and the support available to seafarers via SAIL which offers advice and information regarding debt, money issues, pensions, tax credits, and more. 

Webinar 4:
Managing and Combating Fatigue

Dr. Claire Pekan (Director, Safe Marine)
David Watson (CHIRP)
David Patraiko (Head of Research and Relationships, The Nautical Institute)

Staff on ships and in ports are responsible for safety critical work day and night. This impacts rest time available inevitably leading to fatigue.

Webinar 5:
Musculoskeletal Health

Neil Duff (OPS North Team Lead, Connect Health)

Seafarers who sustain a musculoskeletal injury may have difficulty in accessing appointments and medical professionals in time, leading to longer rehabilitation times likely affecting their ability to return to work. Steps can be taken to address this, and improve musculoskeletal health.

Webinar 6 Stoptober:
Stop Smoking

Stopping smoking benefits one’s health as well as those around you. SHS aims at highlighting a range of services and support that can help seafarers quit smoking.

Webinar 7:
Movember – Men’s Health

  • Date: 30 November 2022
  • Time: 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm
  • Register:

Dr. Charlotte Mendes Da Costa (General Practitioner)
Representative from Seafit Programme

The webinar focuses on men’s health and hopes to encourage and empower men to take care of their physical and mental wellbeing.

For further information please contact [email protected].