MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday said Filipinos should not be ashamed of reaching out to institutions that offer free mental health services as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect everyone.
“Ang serbisyong inoofer sa atin hindi lang para sa physical health, kasama na rin sa mental health. We recognize the fact during the pandemic, ang anxiety, ang fear napakataas nyan. Tapos i-couple pa natin with nawawalan ng trabaho ang mga kababayan, nagkakaroon ng feeling of desperation, feeling of hopelessness,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.
(The services we offer is not just for physical health. There is also mental health. We recognize the fact that during the pandemic, anxiety and fear is high. Then it is coupled with job loss of our citizens, which results in feelings of desperation, feeling of hopelessness.)
Vergeire encouraged those who feel that way to call mental health hotlines such as those of the:
- National Center for Mental Health (NCMH Usap) - 0949 568 2910 for Smart and 0966 351 4518 for Globe or https://bit.ly/COVIDUsapTayo;
- Philippine Mental Health Association - 0917-565-2036 or email address: firstname.lastname@example.org - Monday to Friday, 8AM - 5PM;
- UP Diliman Psychosocial Services (UPD PsycServ) - 0916 757 3157 or 0906 374 3466 via text or Viber or htttp://bit.ly/PsycServPH;
- Ateneo Bulatao Center - https://tinyurl.com/BuCenterOnline
The PMHA also has a longer list of centers offering free online psychological services in this following social media post:
“It is okay not to be okay, especially at this point in our situation na meron tayong ganitong pandemya (when there is a pandemic),” Vergeire said, explaining that there is nothing wrong about seeking help.
She also urged people to look after loved ones who might be dealing with COVID-19 or other problems.
Institutions back in June reported a spike in the demand for mental health counseling.
The NCMH said it logged 45 suicide-related calls per month as of May 31. More than 2,000 have also soght psychosocial support from March to May.