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30th September 2022

The IMRF launches its #SARyouOK? mental health initiative

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The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has launched its #SARyouOK? initiative in a bid to promote awareness and further breakdown the stigma that is attached to mental health and wellbeing issues for those working in the maritime search-and-rescue (SAR) sector.

The initiative was first announced on the final day of the organisation’s G5 International Mass Rescue Conference in June 2022 in Gothenburg, Sweden, by Caroline Jupe, the IMRF’s Head of Fundraising and Projects. This project is supported by the United Kingdom’s Trinity House DFT Maritime Safety Fund.

“SAR workers often face stresses that are not present in other high-risk fields of work. First responders put themselves in harm's way, repeatedly putting their physical and mental wellbeing at risk. It’s time we come together as a maritime SAR community to discuss how we can best tackle this issue for the benefit of all SAR professionals,” Caroline said.

According to research conducted by King's College London, on behalf of Human Rights at Sea, SAR first responders face the same risk of suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as that of combat veterans. However, by putting good measures in place early, the risk of such conditions can be substantially reduced.

The aim of the IMRF’s #SARyouOK? initiative is to produce a Guidance and Best Practice framework on Implementing Mental Health and Wellbeing Practices into SAR Organisations, which will provide tangible and practical advice that SAR organisations can use to implement in their own operations.

The IMRF is also planning to host an online workshop and an in-person seminar on mental health and wellbeing in 2023, as well as releasing a number of blogs, videos and podcasts, giving SAR responders and organisations the opportunity to talk about their experiences.

“I hope that this project will help address the challenges that the maritime SAR community faces when it comes to their mental health,” said Theresa Crossley, CEO, IMRF.

“Most importantly, I hope we can foster an open and honest environment where the mental health and wellbeing of SAR personnel is discussed and come up with some positive actions that any SAR organisation can implement,” she added.

“Seafarer wellbeing is of vital importance to the wider maritime community. The mental welfare of those working at sea is thankfully becoming more talked about and Trinity House is proud to assist the IMRF with its #SARyouOK? Initiative using funds made available by the Department for Transport,” said Trinity House’s Deputy Master Captain Ian McNaught.

To kick start the initiative, the IMRF is looking to put together a working group with representatives from SAR organisations, including our members, to discuss current mental health frameworks and best practices. If you are interested in joining the IMRF's official #SARyouOK? working group, please contact Caroline Jupe at

Click here to find out more about the #SARyouOK? project, as well as view the official launch video for initiative.


International Maritime Rescue Federation

• The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) brings the world's maritime search and rescue organisations together in one global and growing family, to share knowledge and improve maritime SAR coordination and response so more people in distress on the sea can be saved.

• IMRF's member organisations share their lifesaving ideas, technologies and experiences and freely cooperate with one another to achieve their common humanitarian aim: "Preventing loss of life in the world's waters".

• The International Maritime Rescue Federation was founded (as the International Lifeboat Federation) in 1924. In 1985 it was granted non-governmental consultative status with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in recognition of the good work being undertaken and the growing need for an organisation to act as a global focal point for maritime search and rescue. In 2003 it was registered as an independent charity and in 2007 the organisation was renamed the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF), reflecting the broader scope of modern maritime search and rescue activity.

Trinity House

Trinity House is a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers, providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community with a statutory duty as a General Lighthouse Authority to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.

Please visit for more information.

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