ISWAN & V.Group: Supporting Mental Wellbeing
The current situation in terms of the health and wellbeing of seafarers and office support staff around the world is a serious concern, and something we won’t realise the full impact of for months, even years to come. With the current humanitarian crisis in India showing no sign of slowing and the pandemic continuing to impact the mental health of seafarers and those onshore, it is now more important than ever to support mental wellbeing, and is essential that these issues are addressed sooner rather than later.
Last month, we joined forces with The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) to run a webinar on mental wellbeing. The webinar was hosted by V.Group’s Matt Dunlop, Global Director HSSEQ & Technical, and Mike Bradshaw, Global Head of HSSEQ, in collaboration with ISWAN’s Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Pennie Blackburn. The webinar was attended by more than 700 colleagues around the world.
We are proud to work with ISWAN, a global membership organisation which works to promote and support the welfare of seafarers. ISWAN works with companies, unions, governments, welfare organisations and ports on the implementation of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. The organisation aims to support those who establish and provide welfare facilities and services in port and on ships.
ISWAN has also been supporting V.Group with the creation of support structures for employees including the creation of a global network of Mental Wellbeing Champions. Our Mental Wellbeing (MW) Champions make a real difference across the organisation and play a supporting role to our Mental Wellbeing Committee in normalising mental health illnesses by talking about them and sharing experiences, dispelling myths and making it easier for colleagues to seek support.
Matt Dunlop, Global Director HSSEQ & Technical at V.Group commented, “Over the last year our mental wellbeing committee and champions have been working hard to provide a support network to our colleagues, at sea and ashore. In line with our values, we deeply care about our colleagues, our customers, and our company and we believe that by committing to these practices we can continue to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and create a place where it is OK to ask for help.”
Dr Pennie Blackburn, ISWAN’s Consultant Clinical Psychologist, commented “It has been a pleasure to witness first-hand the care and compassion that V.Group has for colleagues and the efforts being made for the wellbeing of the whole company. The Mental Wellbeing Champions are an inspiring network of people across the globe, who are dedicated to breaking down stigma and barriers to support. As one of them commented recently ‘even the most capable amongst us struggles sometimes’. Most people say they wish that had asked for help earlier. The Wellbeing Champions are there to offer a listening ear, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”