New Female Ambassadors’ Training Programme from Mental Health Support Solutions will empower women at sea

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As the maritime industry continues to strive for more diversity amongst its crews, Mental Health Support Solutions (MHSS) is pleased to announce the launch of its Female Ambassadors’ Training Programme which has been designed to equip office workers, regardless of gender, to serve as mentors and allies for female officers and seafarers.

During the training, which is voluntary, office employees learn how to:
– establish a bond of trust with their mentee, including active listening, empathy, and learning to create a safe space without judgment.

– help their mentee navigate conflicts in a constructive way, and understand how to provide guidance and support as needed. This includes strategies for effective communication and conflict resolution.

– address and deal with sexual harassment. Unfortunately, sexual harassment and bullying are common issues that can arise in this industry. Mentors will learn how to create an action plan for supporting their female seafarers who are subjected to these issues. This includes understanding the appropriate channels for reporting such incidents and how to take care of the survivor in a supportive and non-judgmental way.

– be a good mentor and learn to recognise their own limits and boundaries. Office workers will learn how to set boundaries and how to recognise when they need to refer their mentee to another resource or professional. This includes understanding the limits of their own expertise and when it is appropriate to seek outside help.

Once the trainees begin mentoring, they are supported by MHSS through six-weekly group supervision sessions where experiences are shared and solutions sought as a group. It is also the opportunity for additional training. These sessions are vitally important as sharing vulnerabilities and shortcomings is enriching for all involved and they help the mentors to understand that everyone will contend with difficult times but they can be overcome.

The programme was developed by Güven Kale (pictured), Chief Clinical Officer and Clinical Psychologist at MHSS, “It is widely known that female sailors are incredibly resilient. They face unique challenges and obstacles in their line of work, but they continue to persevere and excel. As someone who works in an office environment, I believe it is important for us to recognise and support these strong women. That is why I created a training programme to educate office workers on ways we can better support our female seafarers. By providing them with the resources and support they need, they will know that they have reliable back-up from the office and that we are all working together to ensure their success and well-being.”

MHSS believes that by giving office staff the necessary skills to support female seafarers, it will help to mitigate the potential feelings of isolation experienced by some new recruits, giving them a sense of connection and support as well as a designated person on land that they can contact for support and advice.

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