The Museum of Philippine Maritime History in Iloilo City served as the venue for a thought-provoking event that shed light on the mental health challenges faced by seafarers in the midst of the ongoing global pandemic. Organized by Dr. Sanley S. Abila from the University of the Philippines Visayas, Division of Professional Education, this public engagement aimed to raise awareness and promote discussions on the well-being of seafarers.
Thanks to the generous support of the Lloyd's Register Foundation (UK), Abila received a grant to host this event, which served as a platform for research presentations and collaborative dialogue. The Lloyd's Register Foundation, through their "NEST" or Network to Engineer a Safer Tomorrow program, played a vital role as the funder of this event, emphasizing their commitment to the welfare of seafarers.
The event kicked off with a research presentation titled "Seafarers in Distress: The Pandemic's Toll on Seafarers' Well-Being" by Marjorie A. Maido. This insightful presentation delved into the unique challenges faced by seafarers during the pandemic, shedding light on the mental health toll it has taken on this crucial workforce.
Dr. Sanley S. Abila, the event's organizer, gave the second research presentation titled "Perceptions and Experiences of Mental Health Interventions for International Seafarers in this Time of Pandemic." Dr. Abila's research explored the perceptions and experiences of seafarers regarding mental health interventions, providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of existing support systems and potential areas for improvement.
The event boasted a diverse audience, with representatives from various organizations such as the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University, and the Western Visayas Health Research and Development Consortium. Notably, seafarers themselves, as well as their wives, attended the event, lending their personal experiences and perspectives to the discussions.
The collaboration between Dr. Abila and the Museum of Philippine Maritime History, especially through its Officer-in-Charge, Michael Angelo (Jojo) Cruz, ensured the success of this public engagement. Their joint efforts created a space for meaningful conversations and knowledge exchange, fostering a stronger understanding of seafarers' mental health needs.
The event concluded with closing remarks from Director Jeffrey A. Bangsa, Regional Director of MARINA RO VI, who highlighted the importance of recognizing seafarers' well-being and reiterated the commitment of maritime authorities to address mental health concerns within the industry.
The Public Engagement on Seafarers Mental Health served as a crucial platform for raising awareness and promoting proactive measures to support the mental health of seafarers, who play a vital role in global trade and transportation. Through research, dialogue, and collaboration, this event aimed to engineer a safer and healthier future for seafarers around the world.