In a first for the industry, international maritime charity Sailors’ Society is launching a series of global wellness and mental health conferences designed exclusively for maritime school students.
Following on from a very successful pilot in India in 2021, four online events will explore the all-important subject of wellbeing and mental health with cadets as they embark on their careers at sea.
Building on Sailors’ Society’s pioneering wellness training and support programme, the conferences will focus on key and current issues facing cadets today, including crisis and diversity.
Serving maritime schools in India, the Philippines, Greece and Africa, each conference will be tailored to the region and feature internationally renowned speakers.
Sailors’ Society’s CEO Sara Baade said: “Seafarers are the key workers of the sea. They serve at the frontline of international supply chains, supporting global economies – so it’s essential that their wellbeing is cared for right from the beginning of their careers.
“The content has been tailored to focus on key issues facing today’s seafarers, for example the current crisis in Ukraine and the impact of the pandemic, as well as the issue of diversity as many companies look to ensure a diverse workforce.
“Our maritime schools’ conferences aren’t just a first; they are aimed at proactive investment in young minds. These events recognise that today’s cadets are tomorrow’s workforce and future leaders.”
Hosted online with technical support from The UK P&I Club, the conferences will be chaired by Johan Smith, Sailors’ Society’s head of wellness and lead on the charity’s Wellness at Sea programme.
Johan said: “Following engagement with several maritime schools in India as part of Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea awareness campaign, it was clear that there was an appetite for a conference aimed specifically at cadets. Our 2021 pilot event was a direct response to this.
“It was such a success that we’re now replicating this model so that we can benefit many more cadets around the world.
“We hope that these events will build on findings gathered at the pilot conference and generate a wealth of analytical and subjective data to help shape future work in wellness and mental health.”
More than 1,800 delegates registered for the 2021 pilot webinar that served 19 maritime schools.
Feedback at this event was overwhelmingly positive, with more than 95 percent of those surveyed saying they had a better understanding of wellbeing following the conference and 100 percent saying it had given them better preparation for a future career at sea.
One cadet responded: “I found this event really insightful and helpful, especially the crisis response information and how to handle stress and workload.”