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Tapiit Live launches new seafarer mental health live training package

Tapiit Live’s CEO Richard Turner, a former seafarer and managing director at Shell Ship Management. Tapiit Live’s CEO Richard Turner, a former seafarer and managing director at Shell Ship Management.

Liverpool-based maritime tech training company Tapiit Live is launching a new package of mental health courses for seafarers left stranded by the coronavirus pandemic, on the eve of World Mental Health Day on October 10.

The courses will be delivered via Inmarsat Fleet Xpress. Last month, Digital Ship reported that Tapiit Live had signed an agreement with Inmarsat to become an Inmarsat Certified Application Provider (CAP), enabling it to provide live-stream training to around 10,000 ships.

The sessions will be the first ever mental health courses to be live-streamed both onshore and offshore.

Tapiit Live’s CEO Richard Turner, a former seafarer and managing director at Shell Ship Management, said the courses will be delivered by the clinical psychologist Dr Rachel Glynn-Williams, from Liverpool-based Seaways Psychology Services and aim to prevent and tackle poor seafarer mental health. The issue has been brought into sharp focus by the coronavirus crisis which has left an estimated 300,000 seafarers stranded on ships unable to return home after their contracts have ended due to travel restrictions. This has led to huge concerns over seafarers’ wellbeing and mental health.

The new package is titled ‘Mental Wellbeing at Sea at Times of Uncertainty’. Mr Turner said the one-hour course is delivered in a group situation in a mess or training room, with participants sent workbooks to complete. The courses are available to ship owners, operators and ship management companies worldwide with tailored courses for officers and ratings.

“Seafarers often live in cramped conditions, which we know can impact on mental wellbeing, so the main point of the course is to get people out of their cabins and into mess rooms where they can interact.

“The important difference in what we do is that this is not a webinar or e-learning but we are trying to create a classroom environment where the lecturer engages with participants every five minutes and they feel able to interact. Nothing beats classroom style learning and while e-learning is effective, live-streaming is better as it ensures seafarers can actively engage with the tutor in real time or via private chat.”

The courses begin with Dr Glynn-Williams asking about the welfare of those onboard and includes three minutes of breathing space techniques for dealing with anxiety.

Dr Glynn-Williams then remains online for up to an hour after the class has ended so that seafarers can approach her individually if they wish to. Although the course is not intended as a clinical session, she can refer individuals to a network of further mental health assistance should she feel it is needed. A follow-up contact is made by Tapiit Live two months later to check on progress and offer further support to seafarers.

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