Thome Group has said it has always put the mental health and well-being of its staff at the top of its priority list and this year has been no exception, particularly as both office based and sea staff have been under increased stress due to the changes and disruptions brought about by COVID-19.
Its seafarers already had access to help and support but Thome upgraded this service recently with a 24/7 free and confidential helpline service provided by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN).
This has been further enhanced with Seafarer Assistance, a bespoke emotional support service operated by SWAN Ltd, a subsidiary of ISWAN. This includes a free, confidential 24/7 helpline manned by specially trained counsellors which is available not only to Thome’s employees but also to its seafarers’ families, as the company recognises the extra strain that its crews’ loved ones are enduring due to the uncertainties brought about by the virus.
The Seafarer Assistance service can also be accessed using email, live chat, Facebook and Whatsapp giving Thome employees valuable tips and hints on how to cope with feeling low, stressed and fatigued, and helping them maximise their psychological wellbeing. In specific circumstances, face to face consultations and counselling can be provided if deemed necessary to help staff or family members mitigate any serious risks to their overall mental well-being.
Olav Nortun, Thome Group’s CEO, commented, “Ensuring that our staff and their families are being supported by trained professionals is vital. None more so than this year which has brought about some exceptional circumstances for our teams to endure as the pandemic caused unprecedented changes to our working and personal lives. This is why we decided to introduce a bespoke confidential support service for all our employees and their families which can be accessed 24/7 wherever you’re located in the world.”
Claes Eek Thorstensen, Thome President and CCO, added, “Removing the stigma of mental health issues through training and support with initiatives like Seafarer Assistance is so important. Our staff are the key to our success so we owe it to them to provide this free and confidential support to help them reduce their anxieties and stress levels and those of their families.”