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Fishermen Wellness

health and wellness for fishermen on land and sea

The Fishermen Wellness Program advocates for more resources to support the mental health and well-being of commercial fishermen, and partners with organizations to create opportunities for fishermen to find help and information. 

This program is possible thanks to generous support from the Builders Initiative, the Fisher Charitable Trust, the Sewall Foundation, and individual donors.

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Survival Gear Loan Program

MCFA has life rafts available to fishermen who are getting theirs repacked or who are required to take additional crew/ observers on short notice. 


We also have survival suits that can be borrowed if fishermen are in need of extra crew or will be bringing extra people aboard trips.


If you have things you are in need of or no longer using, please consider a donation to MCFA. 

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Wellness Support

MCFA is able to cover the costs of counseling for fishermen for up to three sessions.


We have worked with partners at NAMI Maine and Health Affiliates of Maine to curate a list of 10 counselors who understand the unpredictability and stressful schedules of fishermen.

Please contact Monique for more information and to request the list of counselors for yourself or a loved one. MCFA aims to make it as easy as possible for fishermen to access the support that they need.


NAMI Maine Blog Series

Fishermen Wellness is an on-going series by NAMI Clinical Staff. Each week a new topic will be featured pertaining to mental health and wellness for fishermen.


Thank you to the clinical staff at NAMI for their support and insight during this time.

Resources & Articles

Fishing Forward Podcast A podcast about safety and wellness on the water.

Fishability FishAbility supports fishermen, lobstermen, oyster farmers, people working in aquaculture, and family members of fishing businesses who experience barriers to employment such as aging, injury, or chronic illness.

Maine Voices: We need more awareness of mental health stresses on commercial fishermen.

Include fishermen in policy decisions that affect them, invest in programs that support their ability to continue to work and create opportunities for them to seek mental health support.

Mental Health and the Modern Fisherman (Hakai Magazine) 

With support from their advocates, fishermen are starting to confront the toll that dangerous working conditions, economic and environmental uncertainty, and ever-changing regulations take on their minds and bodies.

Northeast Center for Occupational Health & Safety 

The Northeast Center works with fishermen and fishing organizations to develop solutions to keep them safe and well at work. 

Safety Nets: what's missing in mental health for fishermen (National Fisherman)

Depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide are not uncommon in any fishing community no matter which coast you are on. It is an isolating, dangerous occupation full of uncertainty and expenses; it costs time, money, and many sacrifices to be a fisherman.

Helpful Contacts & More Information

NAMI Maine Helpline 800-464-5767, press 1
Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255
Substance Use Support Hotline  (877) 967-2149
Man Therapy

The Maine Seacoast Mission is rooted in a history of compassionate service and mutual trust, the Mission seeks to strengthen coastal and island communities by educating youth, supporting families, and promoting good health.

If you need to apply for Medicaid, you can reach out to Oasis at 207-721-9277 or visit Oasis also offers free healthcare and mental services in the interim period while the application process is happening.

The Shaw Fund for Mariners' Children is a private foundation is dedicated to supporting New England fishermen and others who work at sea. They provide financial assistance and resource and referral services to mariner families residing in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire for over 150 years.

Fishing Partnership Support Services is a non-profit support services organization dedicated to improving the health, safety and economic security of commercial fishermen and their families.

The Northeast Center works with fishermen and fishing organizations to develop solutions to keep them safe and well at work. There are a lot of good resources on this site including information about sleep deprivation.

Together, we persevere.

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