By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
The Department of Health (DOH) is set to convene a technical working group (TWG) to ensure the physical and mental health of Filipinos as the country grapples with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, has tasked the DOH to lead in crafting a national framework for increasing the physical and mental resilience of the citizenry.
“Nagkaroon din po tayo ng approval na magkaroon po ng isang national framework para po ma-increase iyong physical and mental resilience ng ating publiko (We have gotten an approval to create a national framework to increase the public’s physical and mental resilience),” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Thursday.
“Kinakailangan po manatiling malusog hindi lang ang pisikal kundi po pati ang ating pag-iisip (We need to stay healthy not just physically but also mentally),” he added.
In his sixth weekly report to Congress on Monday, President Duterte recognized the vital need to support the mental health and well-being of Filipinos during the global health crisis.
He reported that the DOH, through various partner agencies and organizations, has started offering free online psychological services for COVID-19 via phone, social media, and other platforms.
In a paper published in Lancet Psychiatry, a panel of 24 specialists called for more funding for research into the impacts COVID-19 may have on society’s mental well-being.
The paper noted that the pandemic was likely to have a “profound and pervasive impact” to the billions of people who struggle to cope with isolation.
Dr. Roland Cortez, chief of the National Center for Mental Health, said in a virtual press conference last week that the rise of the number of individuals with depression should be expected due to the prolonged quarantine.
According to Cortez, about 200 people call the 24-hour hotline numbers 0917-898-8727 and 989-8727 since Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).