VIKAND supports V.Ships Greece with mental health training


Maritime healthcare specialist VIKAND is providing V.Ships Greece with officer training programmes designed to improve mental health and wellbeing onboard, and to reduce incidences of self-harm and suicide at sea.

The training modules aim to increase the officers’ knowledge and understanding of mental health issues at sea, including how to recognize relevant signs and symptoms and how to provide initial support to colleagues in need. They also train officers to recognize various factors that can contribute to suicide and self-harm at sea, and how to approach and communicate with a colleague who may be at risk. These programmes have been developed and are delivered by a licensed psychologist with experience in the challenges of maritime life.

“We wanted to provide our officers with structured training from a recognized maritime healthcare provider, so we chose VIKAND,” said Zafeiris Syrras, General Manager of V.Ships Greece. “The team at VIKAND is full of experienced medical professionals, all of whom have served on board, so they can empathize with our seafarers.”

At present, there is no maritime industry standard for mental health training, so VIKAND proactively developed structured learning programmes that satisfy RightShip guidelines and comply with Inspection Ship Questionnaire (RISQ) 3.0.

“Our aim with this course is to empower officers with the skills and knowledge to recognize and respond to mental health crises,” said Ronald Spithout, Managing Director of OneHealth by VIKAND. “We felt it was important to create a programme that would reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and address the very delicate subjects of suicide and self-harm.”

“Furthermore, it was important that we could work with such a trusted partner as Navarino who are very well in tune with the dynamics of the Greek shipping market from a technology and local commercial support perspective.”

Reducing incidences of self-harm and suicide, as well as increasing knowledge and understanding of mental health issues at sea, are critical near-term goals. VIKAND’s broader mission is to support the long-term health of the maritime industry through programmes and services that enhance seafarer safety, resilience, happiness and productivity.