It is with pleasure that I publish this article on the new mobile app ISWAN for Seafarers, which offers access to ISWAN’s 24-hour helplines and resources for seafarers. It’s available for free download on Google Play and App store.
The strongest point is the possibility to use the application also offline. Seafarers can access support and resources at any time while at sea or ashore.
As a cruise ship’s doctor, I think it is important to point out the very useful sections on “Mental Health” and “Physical Health”. Both sections offer useful factsheets and self-help guides to help you cope with life on board in the best and healthiest possible way. We know that there are a number of factors that impact a seafarer’s mental and physical health.
Also of interest is the free download of an audio relaxation exercise that combines muscle relaxation with breath control. The audio also works off-line and lasts about 15 minutes.
In addition, ISWAN provides the opportunity to attend the Maritime Mental Health Awareness Training course for senior officers and shoreside staff to help them recognize the early signs of mental distress and intervene immediately before the worst happens.
The Physical Health section provides interesting fact sheets on the following points: Dental care, Fit on board, Food safety, Healthy food, Hydration, Malaria, Overweight, Safe travel, SITs & HIV/AIDS.
The “Help & Support” tab provides important information and guidance on topics that should not be underestimated in the life of a seafarer: Feeling low?, Unpaid wages, Nearest seafarer centre/ship visitor, Repatriation, Abandonment, Bullying and harassment, Contractual issues, Seafarers affected by piracy, Seeking employment.
Within the app there is also Yacht Crew Help, aimed at professional yacht crews who work and live in confined spaces where problems with colleagues can easily be problematic.
The app features a blog containing recent articles on seafarers’ welfare-related news and topics, which can be refreshed when an internet connection is available.
In conclusion, I highly recommend downloading the app and sharing it with colleagues on board.