Research highlighting mental health challenges faced by superyacht crew will soon result in a dedicated online yacht help 'toolkit' being created by the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN).
A survey conducted by ISWAN in 2018 found that 82% of superyacht crew experienced low crew morale sometimes, often or always. Fifty-five per cent of female respondents found accessing mental health care to be an occasional or regular challenge.
In order to be more visible to superyacht crew in need, ISWAN has been fundraising for Yacht Crew Help – a new online toolkit to provide crew with a direct line to free, 24-hour emotional support, guidance, and useful health and welfare resources.
To support the fundraising ISWAN has created a Just Giving fundraising page for its the Crew Help hub which is well on the way to its £20K target.
Alongside individual fundraising efforts from Colin Squire of Yachting Matters and Captain Brendan O'Shannassy, president of the ISS Captain's Committee, yacht audiovisual and communications consultancy Bond TM have also been contributed €10,000 to help make the new platform a reality.
ISWAN project manager Caitlin Vaughan said: 'We have been so fortunate to be supported by wonderful people and organisations within the superyacht industry who recognise the need for accessible mental health support for crew. We're delighted to be partnering with Bond TM whose industry expertise will be invaluable to the development of the toolkit.'
Will Faimatea, director and founder of Bond TM, said: 'Having previously been crew for many years I recognise the topic of mental health is an issue like it is everywhere but obtaining support and assistance whilst you are crew can be difficult. Crew wellbeing is an area that can easily be overlooked.'
Captain O'Shannassy said the greatest challenge at sea is creating a safe environment where crews' mental health and wellness are core values: 'The awareness of this priority across the maritime industry is not where it should be, and neither are the support and educational tools. The ISWAN initiative is a huge step in the right direction to improve crew wellness, resilience, mental health and in turn performance.'