You can take a well-being self-assessment online for free

Anna Gabrielle Cerezo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 10 2020 04:43 PM | Updated as of Apr 10 2020 06:52 PM

A man wearing a protective mask on his neck walks past closed shops in an empty street following the lockdown in Manila to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

MANILA -- Having trouble sleeping since the lockdown? You are not alone. 

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), difficulty sleeping and changes in sleeping pattern are among the common reactions both adults and children may experience during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis. 

LifeRisks, a non-profit youth organization centered on providing mental health services through seminars, psychological first-aid, and well-being evaluations, found that 1 out of 4 Filipinos need more than one hour to fall sleep since the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was enforced. 

The figure is based on the results of an online self-evaluation tool created by the registered psyshometricians behind LifeRisks and their partner organization, the Hope Lab of De La Salle University.

The online assessment, Global People’s Unexpected Life-Events Self Evaluation (GPULSE), aims to help people check and explore the state of their social and emotional well-being during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. 

The questionnaire, designed with reliable and valid research instruments, is available for anyone who wishes to have a better understanding of their emotional and mental state. 

GPULSE will assess a persons “sleep quality, well-being, social support, social media use, anxieties and hopes while being quarantined at home.” 

The exam, available in English and Filipino language, only takes about 10-15 minutes. As soon as the questionnaire is accomplished, an interpretation, as well as tailored tips (depending on the findings) on how to cope with the ECQ, will be shown immediately. 

According to LifeRisks, the interpretation, however, does not equate to a clinical assessment of a licensed professional and should not be used as diagnosis or proof of mental illness. 

While the data collected may be used as part of a research study for educational purposes, LifeRisks said all personal information will remain confidential and will be “collected, processed, and deleted in accordance with the Data Privacy Act. 4.” 

The assessment is meant to provide a sense of comfort for respondents that they are not alone.

According to the CDC, feeling strong emotions such as fear, anxiety, and stress is natural during a crisis.

Clinical psychologist and social scientist, Dr. Maria Lourdes Carandang, however, said the impact of the pandemic to mental health could be more severe compared to other disasters and crises as a lot about the pandemic is “unknown.” 

“We don't know what it is, we don’t know how exactly to deal with it. We are all trying hard to find ways, and in the process because it is such an unknown, there is more anxiety, uncertainty and destabilization affecting us everyday,” Carandang said in a video MLAC Institute uploaded. 

In LifeRisks’s latest update, based on reference cut-off from reliable and valid tests, 19.74 percent of GPULSE respondents from the National Capital Region (NCR) are feeling severe anxiety symptoms, while 74.73 percent of Filipinos have moderate to flourishing well-being. 

According to LifeRisks, “those who met specific criteria automatically received linkage to mental health services available” in the Philippines. 

Aside from changes in sleeping pattern, the CDC said “fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, changes in eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, worsening of chronic health problems, worsening of mental health conditions, and increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs” are other common reactions to a crisis. 

To help cope, the CDC recommended reducing watching, reading, or listening to news, about COVID-19, taking deep breaths, stretching, meditating, eating well-balanced meals, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding alcohol, and connecting and talking to loved ones. 

The CDC also suggested researching, understanding, and sharing accurate information about COVID-19 can help persons feel more at ease. 

For more information visit LifeRisks' Facebook page.