WeCare is an exciting new initiative designed to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for seafarers across the world.
The maritime sector offers huge opportunities to seafarers and is an exciting and rewarding career. Positive mental health and wellbeing is essential to every seafarer and their crew as it creates confidence, motivation, team work and safety onboard.
However, there are times where situations on board and on shore can prove physically and emotionally demanding. This can lead to Seafarers sometimes feeling overwhelmed and susceptible to feelings of anxiety and depression. In severe instances this has led to feelings of suicide.
The WeCare Programme Explained
Here at the Mission to Seafarers, we aim to address these issues with our new WeCare programme which aims to ensure that seafarers and their families are able to prosper.
The WeCare programme has been created with the help of UK P&I Club, and together promote wellbeing on board and at home. We look at the root causes of poor mental health, explore practical methods to achieve wellbeing, and promote coping strategies to empower action!
Thanks to the kind sponsorship of UK P&I Club, we developed the WeCare programme in 2019. In its first year WeCare workshops reached over 6,000 Seafarers and their families, receiving an overall approval rating of 95%. In 2020, following continued support from the UK P&I Club and new sponsorship from the TK Foundation and Prime Tanker & Gas Managment, WeCare launched the e-learning programme. This provided seafarers with an easy to reach course, enabling them to access mental health advice and wellbeing resources on board and on shore.
WeCare Supporting Seafarers and their Families
While the advent of social media and improved Internet connectivity for Seafarers is welcomed as a means of providing emotional support through increased family time, it can also sometimes prove overwhelming.
Our Port Chaplains across the world have helped countless Seafarers who have encountered unwanted pressure from those back home. Fundamentally, this often occurs due to families and friends having failed to grasp the pressures which can come while working at sea. This can often lead to mental health issues and create distractions which can prove dangerous in what is a hazardous occupation.
Through our WeCare social communications course, we are aiming to reduce this breakdown in communication by providing guidance to Seafarers and their families on how to communicate responsibly via Social Media and other communication channels in a safe and meaningful way which cannot be misinterpreted.
Seafarers returning home are more likely to suffer financial stress than any other emotional issue. For instance, the average Filipino seafarer will have to support up to 15-20 extended family members with their wage while also navigating concerns such as an inability to contribute to pensions or savings.
On account of this, we have now established a financial wellbeing course which aims to help seafarers and their families identify the link between money and mental health as well as teaching coping strategies such as budgeting.
Both of these WeCare wellbeing courses are now available to the family, friends and loved ones of Seafarers through our Family Support Network in the Philippines. We are also now able to provide bespoke family sessions upon request. Courses aim to help seafarers and their families navigate some of the challenges that they may experience and generally feel empowered.
Our Wellbeing Courses
Our WeCare programme currently delivers two wellbeing training courses for seafarers which are explained below:
- Financial Wellbeing – Exploring links between money, relationships and our mental health and wellbeing. This course empowers seafarers and their families to manage their mental health through applying financial coping strategies such as budgeting, saving and risk assessments.
- Social Wellbeing – Exploring links between social media, long-distance relations and our mental health and wellbeing. This course enables seafarers and their families to understand how social media and long distance relationships affect their mental health. It promotes coping strategies to apply on both sides of a relationship to champion positive mental health and wellbeing. Find out more in our promotional video.
- Wellbeing Resources – Our course offer a range of downloadable resources to use on board and at home. Check out WeCare Onboard Mental Health Champions
Each of our WeCare wellbeing courses can be offered through four different formats:
- E-Learning: Two 60 minute courses offering participants an engaging and interactive experience with downloadable resources to use on board and at home.
- Workshop: A one-day, four module course delivered by two WeCare trainers. Participants receive a WeCare workbook and certificate upon completion.
- Webinars: Delivered by one of our WeCare trainers our webinars are designed for ship management and Officer fleet training. The course focuses on key information for promoting positive mental health, identifying risk, and supporting crew onboard. Participants receive WeCare resources and certificate upon completion.
- Training for Trainers (T4T): Two day course designed for experienced ship management/ crew trainers. Delivered by two WeCare trainers. Over two days participants learn how to deliver the specific course through presentations, lesson-planning and mock exercises. The final day includes monitoring and reporting procedures. Participants receive a WeCare trainers manual, USB stick, information pack and T4T certificate.
You can learn more about the WeCare programme and our wellbeing courses by downloading the WeCare Brochure.
WeCare Contact Numbers
If you are a seafarer or a family member/friend/loved one of a person working at sea, then you can get more information and help by contacting your local Seafarer Centre.
The contact numbers for our Seafarers Centre’s can be found on our Sea Ports page.
Information on Chat to a Chaplain, The Happiness Index and our Team in the Philippines can be found at WeCare Reach Out