Advocacy group MentalHealthPH said mental health professionals are the best persons to tackle the psychological toll of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The group's response came after Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara sought the help from the religious sector to provide counsel and guidance to those suffering from depression as the number of suicide cases increased in the time of pandemic.
"Preventing suicide should be a national imperative. We acknowledge the remark of our government officials that there is a growing problem on the state of the Filipinos' mental health especially on suicide in the face of this pandemic," it statement read.
"While religious plays a vital role in nation-building, let us also not forget our important frontliners - psychiatrists, psychologists, psychometricians, guidance counselors, and other mental health professionals and other allied health care workers -- who are at their best in innovating approaches to tackle the psychological toll of COVID-19 such as suicide," it added.
MentalHealthPH also underscored the importance of support systems from families and friends to people who are suffering from mental distress.
"A simple check-in with your friends, family members, and even self could go a long way," it said.
The group urged the government, nongovernmental organizations, and private sector members to work together in promoting every Filipino's mental health and well-being.
"One life lost to suicide is one life too many and time to act is now," MentalHealthPH ended.
Guevarra earlier said Inter-Agency Task Force chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. is "alarmed" over the reported rise in the number of suicide cases and solicited the help of the church and religious leaders.
The following centers offer free crisis hotlines for mental health support:
- National Center for Mental Health (NCMH): 0917-899-8727 or 7-9898727
- Philippine Red Cross: 1158
- In-Touch Crisis Line: 8-893-7603, 0919-8001123 or 0922-8938944
The Psychological Association of the Philippines also has a list of centers offering free online psychological services and NCMH's list of mental health resources available at: ncmh-is.com/directory/.