Columbia deploys team of Ukrainian psychologists to help seafarers and families

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

CSM is proud to reveal a huge charitable drive to help seafarers and their families impacted by the war in Ukraine.

We have worked with our partner Mental Health Support Solutions (MHSS) to assemble and deploy a team of 320 Ukrainian psychologists to counsel traumatised refugees at what we call CSM “sanctuaries” in Poland and Romania.

And we have raised $1.3m to put directly into the hands of victims of the conflict.

CEO Mark O’Neil told TradeWinds that client and shareholder Schoeller Holdings contributed $500,000, with CSM matching this. Employees and other clients added more to the total.

CSM has more than 600 Ukrainians and 800 Russians among its 15,000 seafarers.

“Some of the stories we are hearing and some of the pictures we are seeing touch our soul and the souls of our seafarers,” O’Neil said. “We look at the victims of the war, whether they are Ukrainian, Russian, Georgian, Filipino, it really doesn’t matter,” he added.

The guiding principle for the use of the fund is no bureaucracy, the CEO explained.

“We wanted to put cash in the hands of those that needed cash without having to account for it,” he added.

Any family of a seafarer coming across the border at reception centres in Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Poland will be given money for essentials and helped through the asylum system.

CSM has also opened up our services to seafarers from other companies through InterManager on a reciprocal basis.

The group has taken over a Romanian hotel with 25 self-catering rooms, as well as two large hostels in Poland. They are fully funded for six months. O’Neil said the facilities had to be secure, with security guards on the door to protect the women and children who come in.

“Because we’re hearing such awful stories about how in certain circumstances these poor women and their families were being taken advantage of,” he added.

Mental health has been central to everything CSM has done, O’Neil explained.

The former army man said: “I’ve been through a war, I know what trauma means and these families will be extremely traumatised. Money is not an issue here, it’s what you do with it. You need viable projects.”

O’Neil added: “When the flow of refugees hopefully abates, what do we do then? Let’s set up a charity on a wider scale, for all those other victims with long-term needs.”

Charles Watkins, CEO of MHSS, talked to TradeWinds from the Romanian sanctuary.

“We’re able to give Ukrainian psychologists jobs. We have so many people in need,” he said.

The previous day he talked to two people from the devastated city of Mariupol who were “totally traumatised”.

“We offered immediate support in the Ukrainian language,” he added.

Watkins also said that women with young families are arriving and telling him they need help for their children.

MHSS is using specialists in child psychology, with sustainable programmes, art therapy etc.

Read the full article on TradeWinds here:


The post Columbia deploys team of Ukrainian psychologists to help seafarers and families appeared first on Columbia Shipmanagement.

Leave your comment