Skip to main content

New guidance for maritime companies on mental health policy planning for seafarers

9 December 2020

Maritime employers have been urged to use a new guide – Mentally Healthy Ships – to help them implement policies and practices to ensure seafarer mental health.

It has been launched by the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) for shipping companies and ship operators

It follows on from ISWAN's earlier series of self-help Good Mental Health Guides, published between 2017 and 2018.

The new guide is aimed at employers and written by Dr Pennie Blackburn, a consultant clinical psychologist and author of the previous guides. It includes procedures and safety planning to ensure due consideration of mental health, as well as information on how to implement the plan.

The Covid-19 pandemic and related crew change crisis has put unprecedented pressure on seafarers with prolonged time onboard exacerbating existing risks to mental health and presenting new challenges. During the peak of the pandemic, ISWAN's 24-hour helpline, SeafarerHelp, saw a threefold increase in the number of cases, and it is still dealing with an increase in cases compared with the same time last year.

  • Download the Mentally Healthy Ships guide