‘Mind your mental health,’ DOH tells public amid COVID-19 crisis

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  • The DOH reminded the public to seek psychological support amid the COVID-19 crisis 
  • Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire enumerated the options available for managing stress
  • National Center for Mental Health can be reached at 0917899USAP (8727) or (02)7989USAP

Have you been exhausted, lonely, and stressed out amid the lockdown? The Department of Health (DOH) reminded the public to seek psychological support if they feel that the COVID-19 crisis has already been affecting their mental health.

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On Tuesday, June 9, the health department noted that the impact of COVID-19 reaches beyond the immediate physical health and economic concerns that have grabbed attention over the past few months; explaining that a person’s mental and psychosocial well-being is also an important part of staying healthy during the pandemic.

“Ang pagkakatutok natin sa mga panganib na dulot ng COVID-19 ay maaaring magdulot ng pagkawala natin ng focus sa mental health. Napaka-importante na pagtuunan din ito ng pansin upang i-manage ang stress. It’s okay na hindi maging okay kaya hinihikayat naming na tumawag sa aming hotline para makipag-usap sa aming mental health crisis responders,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said.

“Paalala, anuman ang gawin natin sa panahong ito ay maaaring maligtas hindi lamang tayo, kundi pati ang ating mga mahal sa buhay, sa kapahamakan,” she stressed.

With this, the health spokesperson enumerated the options available for managing the psychological impact not only of the pandemic, but all the other stress-inducers in one’s life.

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NCMH Crisis Hotline

The National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) continues to offer its 24/7 crisis services for free and confidential consultation. One may reach the NCMH Crisis Hotline at 0917899USAP (8727) or (02)7989USAP,  then will be received by mental health responders who will also refer them to a licensed psychiatrist, if necessary.

“Hindi po kami tumigil sa services. Kahit na po nung nag-lockdown, hindi po namin pinabayaan ang mga pasyente natin,” said NCMH psychiatrist Bernard Argamosa.

“We believe that napaka-importante po ng mental health sa ating bansa, sa ating mga kababayan. It must be front and center of every country’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,”the expert added.

In addition, responding to the increasing mental health concerns experienced by frontliners and repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers, the NCMH also launched its Telemental Health Response initiative, an internet platform for remote psychosocial support sessions. The remote setup helps provide much-needed support while reducing the risk of transmitting the virus through outside exposure.

UPD PsycServ

Also willing to help is the UP Diliman’s Psychosocial Services (UPD PsycServ), a 100-volunteer-strong service organization that offers telepsychotherapy for free. The service assists callers not only with clinical issues or mental health problems that require diagnosis by a licensed psychiatrist, but also existential issues.

According to UPD PsycServ Director Violeta Bautista, the program aims to nurture resilience and growth of Filipinos and has pivoted to address the growing concerns brought about by COVID-19.

In addition to psychotherapy, the organization also conducts wellness workshops, organizational training and consultation, and research in the growing body of academic literature for Filipino mental health. One may reach the organization at fb.com/UPDPsycServ or at 09167573157.

“Ang mental health, o lusog-isip, ay hindi lang kawalan ng sakit sa isip. Ang mental health ay tungkol sa well-being o kahusayan ng buong pagkatao,” Bautista noted. “Sa panahong ito ng crisis, ang mahalaga ay alagaan natin ang ating sarili.”