Public encouraged to seek psychosocial help, mental support

Published August 24, 2020, 4:20 PM

by Betheena Kae Unite

The Department of Health reiterated Monday its call for the public to seek psychosocial and mental support if they need to amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire emphasized that it is important to stop the stigma over those seeking mental support, especially in times like this when fear and anxiety take over.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire

“We recognize the fact that during these times of a pandemic, anxiety and fear are high, coupled with loss of jobs, feelings of desperation, hopelessness,” Vergeire said. “What we always say is: It is okay not to be okay, especially at this point in our situation. Even healthcare workers and frontliners, we also have our fears, anxieties and in need sometimes of counseling.”

They may call government hotlines that provide psychosocial support, Vergeire added, stressing that seeking mental health “does not mean there is something wrong with you.”

Among these hotlines are the hotline USAP of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), Philippine Mental Health Association, and UP Diliman Center for Psychological Services.

As of June 2020, the NCMH has received an average of 37 calls daily from people who need mental support and have anxiety-related concerns.

Family members are also encouraged to help their kin or neighbors suffering from the dreaded coronavirus disease and exert an effort to communicate with them and encourage them.

The department underscored the important role of the religious sector in easing the situation of patients and the depression among people.

“The Philippines is highly religious, we always turn to prayers when things go bad. Spiritual guidance or spiritual upliftment, especially those from priests, are highly regarded by our fellowmen in easing their feelings during the pandemic,” Vergeire said.

“Not just priests from the Catholic Church but also other church leaders from other religions, their guidance is a big help as Filipinos look up to them,” she added.