Online counselling service supports Turkish seafarers and families through trauma of Covid-19 crisis

Helping seafarers and their families cope with the trauma of the Coronavirus crisis through remote counselling. That’s what one union in Turkey has been able to do thanks to a grant from the ITF Seafarers’ Trust Covid-19 Emergency Fund.

Domestic violence and mental health support aimed specifically at children, are just two of the areas being covered by the online service provided by the Seafarers’ Union of Turkey (TDS).

The union has been working for a number of years with academics at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University to research the kind of psychological support that would be most useful for seafarers who face unique pressures in their working environment.

Fatih Özpinar, Head of the Maritime Transportation Branch of TDS said: “This work has been ongoing, and at this moment in time we knew we had to use what we’ve learned so far to minimise the negative impact of this crisis on seafarers and their partners and children.

“Our online counselling sessions have been really well received so far and we are getting feedback that the manuals we’ve developed – one for adults and one for children – on coping with the effects of lockdown, are having a positive impact.”

Head of the Trust Katie Higginbottom said: “We know that the kind of isolation many people are experiencing at this time can place enormous strains on relationships. The increased incidents of domestic violence that have been reported all over the world are of grave concern. The union is taking a really practical approach to addressing this issue with their members.”

Read more here about the ITF Seafarers’ Trust Covid-19 Welfare fund

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