Church leader cites importance of giving time to people suffering from depression

Camillian priest Father Dan Cancino, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Health Care cited the importance of giving time to listen to those who are suffering from depression and other mental health problems.

Camillian Priest Father Dan Cancino (CBCP image)

With the rise in cases of mental health problems amid the coronavirus health crisis, Fr. Cancino cited the need to allot more time to those who are suffering from depression and anxiety instead of merely asking briefly how they are.

"The usual reply when we ask people suffering from depression and anxiety how they are is: “Ok lang,” (I’m okay) which does not reflect the true picture of his mental state. But deep within, they have a serious problem,” said Fr. Cancino over Radio Veritas.

According to the priest, some of the things that we can do to help those who are suffering from depression are to give them time and attention and be more observant of their behavior.

"Let us observe their behavior. Let us reach out to them and assure them of our presence, that we are there for them. Let's listen to them. Mental health entails listening,” Fr. Cancino said.

Data from the Department of Health National Mental Health Program said more than one million Filipinos are suffering from depressive disorder, more than 500,000 individuals are suffering from bipolar disorder while more than 200,000 suffer from schizophrenia.

The National Center for Mental Health received 1,375 suicide-related calls last year while more than 4,000 people committed suicide in 2020 said the Philippine Statistics Authority.