Riding the Wave: Addressing Mental and Behavioral Health at Sea
Captain Casey Blum, Foundation for Underway Experiential Learning
Captain Ian Ridgeway, Foundation for Underway Experiential Learning
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adolescents live with a serious mental health condition, with half of all mental health disorders beginning by age 14. With these statistics on the rise, it is necessary as a field to discuss whether and how we are addressing mental and behavioral health concerns within our programs. Whether on a day sail or an offshore passage, participants and/or the ship’s crew may be struggling. This session will seek to answer the following questions and more:
- As a field, are we meeting the mental and behavioral health needs of our passengers and our crews?
- How can organizations be prepared to provide resources while at sea?
- What are strategies for addressing these needs that can be implemented right away?
- What are the consequences/ramifications for not meeting those needs?
Captain Casey Blum, MS, MSW, first joined the tall ship sailing community as a deckhand onboard schooner ALABAMA of the Black Dog Tall Ships in 2007. She worked for the Black Dog Tall Ships for 10 years, becoming the first and only female captain in the company’s 55 year history. She is the co-founder and program director of a new developmental adventure program, the Foundation for Underway Experiential Learning (FUEL). FUEL offers college curriculum in an experiential framework onboard a world-voyaging sailing ship. In addition to her work for FUEL and the Black Dog Tall Ships, Casey has worked as a sailing instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), as a wilderness therapy guide. She has a dual master’s degree from University of New Hampshire in Outdoor Education and Adventure Therapy.
Captain Ian Ridgeway is the president and co-founder of the Foundation for Underway Experiential Learning (FUEL). FUEL offers college curriculum in an experiential framework onboard a world voyaging sailing ship. Before founding FUEL, Ian spent 20 years working for the Black Dog Tall Ships in Vineyard Haven, MA. He worked his way through the ranks to become one of the youngest captains of schooner ALABAMA, a position he held for eight year. He has since acted as a relief captain onboard the schooner SHENANDOAH, the only know non-auxiliary square topsail schooner in the United States and possibly the world. Ian’s long maritime career has also included various private yacht deliveries, work as a sailmaker for Sperry Sails, and experience working with naval architects in vessel design.
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