Publication released on World Mental Health Day to promote the recognition of mental wellbeing as a key component of the health of seafarers, who live and work in conditions which sometimes generate not only physical but also psychological challenges.
New York, October 9, 2018:
In a joint initiative, the American Club and Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) have cooperated to produce a new guide, Caring for Seafarers’ Mental Wellbeing, due for release on October 10 in recognition of World Mental Health Day, 2018.
The document provides guidance on responding to both routine and extreme stressors impacting the quality of life and safety of seafarers both ashore and afloat, and seeks to promote awareness generally of the importance of seafarer mental wellbeing.
Numerous maritime organizations have supported recent initiatives to enhance understanding about the emotional – and psychological – highs and lows of life at sea, and thousands of seafarers have shared their personal stories with SCI staff amid routine, stressful, or tragic circumstances.
The Rev. David M. Rider, President & Executive Director, Seaman’s Church Institute, said:
“Coming from our insurance and humanitarian perspectives respectively, the American Club and the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) share a passion and deep respect for the human factors involved in safe maritime commerce and quality of life for those who work on ships around the world.
With nearly 300 years of combined maritime service, our organizations know intimately the triumphs, tragedies, and risks associated with maritime life. Together, we want to better understand the root causes of failure and the unique DNA of resilience embodied by seafarers at work 24/7/365 to support our modern way of life.”
Extreme stress can make seafarers vulnerable to mental health issues. No research has shown that seafarers suffer different rates of mental health problems than the general population or other working occupations. However, the World Health Organization has estimated that at any given time, approximately 20% of the adult population have a mental health problem, and that these mental health issues have attendant costs, for example, $192 billion in lost earnings per year in the United States alone.
Joseph E.M. Hughes, Chairman and CEO, Shipowners Claims Bureau, Inc., Managers for the American Club, said:
“Service at sea is a particularly challenging vocation. It entails, in addition to often hard physical work, and sometimes real danger, dislocation from family and friends, native cultures, and the many other elements of psychological contentment.
It is particularly important, therefore, that all stakeholders in maritime enterprise are conscious of the emotional challenges that arise from these conditions of seafarer service, and that they are equipped to handle their consequences.
The American Club is particularly proud to have worked on the production of this booklet with the SCI. By learning from seafarers and educating the industry in this way, we seek to raise the profile of mental wellbeing as a key component of a healthy and effective working environment for seafarers.
It is by no means exhaustive on the subject, but it is hoped that those who use it to enhance awareness of mental health as a real dimension of service at sea will find it to be useful in progressing their aims.”
The guide is produced in English (electronic and printed), new and traditional Mandarin (electronic only) and Russian (electronic only) and to access the new guide, Caring for Seafarers’ Mental Wellbeing, please go to: https://www.american-club.com/page/seafarer-wellness
The American Club
American Steamship Owners Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association, Inc. (the American Club) was established in New York in 1917. It is the only mutual Protection and Indemnity Club domiciled in the entire Americas and its headquarters are in New York, USA.
The American Club has been successful in recent years in building on its US heritage to create a truly international insurer with a global reach second-to-none in the industry. Day to day management of the American Club is provided by Shipowners Claims Bureau, Inc. also headquartered in New York.
The Club is able to provide local service for its members across all time zones, communicating in eleven languages, and has subsidiary offices located in London, Piraeus, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Houston, plus a worldwide network of correspondents.
The Club is a member of the International Group of P&I Clubs, a collective of thirteen mutuals which together provide Protection and Indemnity insurance for some 90% of all world shipping.
For more information, please visit the Club’s website http://www.american-club.com/
The Seaman’s Church Institute
The Seamen’s Church Institute of New York & New Jersey was founded in 1834 by Charles Sherman Haight Sr. and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church.
It serves mariners through education, pastoral care, and legal advocacy and incorporates real-life experience into its mission – always ahead of the trends that shape life on the water. SCI uses seafarer centers and trusted, one-on-one relationships with mariners to anticipate and meet their evolving needs.
The many facets of SCI’s institutional work include adult education tailored specifically for professional mariners and advocacy for mariners’ welfare, providing professional legal services free of charge. From this historic legacy and recent work on piracy, suicide prevention, and medical wellbeing, SCI draws from its chaplains’ daily interaction with seafarers, its Center for Seafarers’ Rights cases and advocacy work, its maritime education insights, and its cross-disciplinary work with maritime physicians and psychologists.
SCI understands the challenges mariners face and speaks out for their rights. Throughout its history—as well as today—SCI has helped shape legislation making the world a better place for mariners.
For more information, please visit SCI’s website http://seamenschurch.org/