in International Shipping News 17/12/2021
Any crew members struggling or feeling lonely this holiday period can access support day or night, from anywhere in the world, through the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network’s (ISWAN) free, confidential helpline service.
This time of year can be tough and lonely for seafarers spending the holidays at sea away from loved ones. For those at home unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, financial pressures and other worries are ever present.
ISWAN is spreading the word that support is available to seafarers at a time of year when many businesses and industries usually close. Any seafarer who needs someone to talk to can call or send a message to ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp at any time, and professional yacht crew can contact ISWAN’s Yacht Crew Help. Both helplines are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so someone will always be at the end of the phone or online on Live Chat to offer a listening ear.
From April 2020 to March 2021, ISWAN’s helpline team handled more than 20,000 calls and messages. During this period, ISWAN’s helplines received double the usual number of calls and messages related to suicides or suicidal thoughts. Seafarers have faced countless mental health challenges resulting from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both SeafarerHelp and Yacht Crew Help are available for any crew member, whether they are experiencing a mental health crisis or feeling low or lonely during the holiday period.
Simon Grainge, ISWAN’s Chief Executive Officer, said: ‘A third of the world’s population will be celebrating Christmas and, whether they realise it or not, will have been totally reliant on seafarers to make it possible. But for many seafarers and their families, there will be no rest because the supply chain never stops. ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp and Yacht Crew Help services will be there throughout to support them; it’s the least we can do.’
Seafarers can make sure they have a direct line to ISWAN’s helpline team and offline access to guidance by downloading the free ISWAN for Seafarers app, which is available via the App Store and Google Play. Launched earlier this year, the app has so far been downloaded by over 2,200 seafarers worldwide.
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort