Learn to understand mental health, recognise the signs of mental health problems and respond to concerns on board

Held online across two half-days, this live, interactive course from the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) provides an introduction to mental health awareness for management-level personnel on shore and on board vessels. ISWAN is now also offering a third module, Suicide Prevention, on a separate date for participants who have completed the first two modules and wish to gain a greater understanding of suicide awareness, risk and prevention.

Developed using ISWAN’s extensive experience of supporting seafarers and feedback from previous courses, this course will help participants to recognise early signs of crew who may be struggling, develop the skills needed to respond effectively, and gain an understanding of how to access appropriate support.


Through a mix of discussions, presentations, and practical activities, this live, interactive course aims to:

  • Raise awareness of mental health and the impact of stigma
  • Increase understanding of common mental health problems and their causes
  • Understand how mental health might be affected by working at sea
  • Recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems
  • Build skills and confidence in knowing when to act and how to provide initial support whilst at sea
  • Support cohesive team relationships for crew wellbeing

Why is ISWAN's training different?

This training is designed specifically to build awareness of mental health in a maritime environment. It adapts best practice for mental health awareness, early recognition and initial response for senior officers and shoreside staff.

Offered by ISWAN, this training is designed by Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr. Pennie Blackburn, author of the ISWAN Good Mental Health Guides. Grounded in evidence and best practice in the field of mental health, this course draws on the extensive experience of ISWAN and its other helpline, SeafarerHelp, around the issues affecting seafarers and the challenges of supporting people at sea.

Who is it for?

The course is designed for management-level personnel on shore and on board vessels, including those who carry a mental health officer responsibility. It is suitable for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of mental health at sea and carries responsibility for crew.

When is it and what is covered?

Module 1: Introduction to Mental Health

Module 1 provides an introduction to mental health, an overview of types of mental health problems, mental health at sea and understanding the causes of mental health problems as well as tackling stigma and promoting crew cohesion. This module is required prior to Module 2.

Module 2: Recognising Signs and First Response

Module 2 builds on the introduction to mental health awareness. Participants develop their capacity to recognise signs and symptoms of crew members who may be struggling with their mental health. It offers an overview of psychological first aid (PFA), including the role officers can play and the limitations of the role and teaches essential skills to provide a timely first response through small group practice. This module is required prior to Module 3.

NEW: Module 3: Suicide Prevention

Module 3 provides a more advanced level of training to those who have completed Modules 1 and 2 and would benefit from a greater understanding of suicide awareness, risk and prevention. This module builds on the Psychological First Aid model introduced at Module 2, and addresses common myths and stigmas about suicide. The training includes guidance on risk assessment, safety planning, and avenues of support; with an opportunity to practice essential skills.


‘…the course was a great help to [me and my business partner]. It was well organised, pitched at the right level and I could see it would be very helpful to those on board’ – Nicola Morgan, Director, wilsonhalligan

‘It really was great training! I also heard many good comments and was happy to see all were engaged and passionate about it. Dr Pennie is GREAT!’ – Tatjana Espinel, VP Crew Operations, CMI Leisure Management

'I thought the training was really beneficial to everyone involved, regardless of their rank or role in the company. The interactive sessions made the experience more engaging and interesting to participate in'

(Module 3) 'It brings to light the reality of how prevalent mental health issues and thoughts of suicide are overall and are even more prevalent in the seafarer occupation. It definitely brought a more in-depth awareness of both of these subjects and how to recognize and assist those in need ... I really enjoyed listening and learning from all that Dr. Pennie shared with us'


25 & 26 January 2022, 09:30-13:30 GMT
Module 1: Introduction to Mental Health
Module 2: Recognising Signs and First Response

27 January 2022, 09:30-13:30 GMT
Module 3: Suicide Prevention
BOOK HERE(participants must have previously completed Modules 1 and 2 before taking Module 3)

We are grateful to our primary sponsors & partners for their continued support: