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SAILORS’ Society has announced the launch of a series of global wellness and mental health conferences to help maritime students navigate challenges around stress, diversity and crises.

Following a successful pilot conference last year, the Wellness at Sea conferences were designed for young seafarers as they embark on their maritime careers.

Four separate online conferences will be targeted to their respective regional audiences in India, Africa, the Philippines and Greece.

Sailors’ Society CEO Sara Baade said it is essential to care for seafarers’ wellbeing right from the beginning of their careers.

“The content has been tailored to focus on key issues facing today’s seafarers, for example the current crisis in Ukraine and the impact of the pandemic, as well as the issue of diversity as many companies look to ensure a diverse workforce,” she said.

“Our maritime schools’ conferences aren’t just a first; they are aimed at proactive investment in young minds.

“These events recognise that today’s cadets are tomorrow’s workforce and future leaders.”

The conferences will be chaired by Johan Smith, head of wellness at Sailors’ Society and head of the charity’s Wellness at Sea program.

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Mr Smith said the 2021 pilot event in India was a direct response to engagement with maritime schools in India and a perceived appetite for a conference aimed at cadets.

“It was such a success that we’re now replicating this model so that we can benefit many more cadets around the world,” Mr Smith said.

“We hope that these events will build on findings gathered at the pilot conference and generate a wealth of analytical and subjective data to help shape future work in wellness and mental health.”

More than 1800 delegates from 19 maritime schools registered for the pilot webinar in 2021.

Sailors’ Society said the feedback was “overwhelmingly positive”, with more than 95% of survey respondents saying they came away with a better understanding of wellbeing.

According to the charity, 100% of respondents said the program had better prepared them for a future career at sea.

The four conferences will be held online in August, September and October this year.

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