Press Release/9 June 2020
The impact of COVID-19 reaches beyond the immediate physical healt hand economic concerns that have grabbed attention over the past few months. A person’s mental and psychosocial well-being is also an equally important part of staying safe and healthy during the pandemic.
In today’s Beat COVID-19 Virtual Presser, Health Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire discussed with local mental and psychosocial care groups about the options available for managing the psychological impact not only of the pandemic, but all the other stress-inducers in one’s life.
The National Center for Medical Health (NCMH) offers its 24/7 crisis and suicide services for free and confidential consultation. Callers are received by mental health crisis responders and are referred to a hospital’s licensed psychiatrist, if needed. The NCMH Crisis Hotline may be reached at 0917-899-USAP (8727) or (02) 7-989-USAP.
Responding to the increasing mental health concerns experienced by frontliners and repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), NCMH also launched its Telemental Health Response initiative, which is an internet platform for remote psychosocial support sessions. The remote setup helps provide much-needed support while reducing the risk of transmitting the virus through outside exposure.
“Hindi po kami tumigil sa services. Kahit na po nung nag-lockdown, hindi po namin pinabayaan ang mga pasyente natin,” said NCMH psychiatrist Dr. Bernard Argamosa. “We believe that napaka-importante po ng mental health sa ating bansa, sa ating mga kababayan. It must be front and center of every country’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic”
UP Diliman’s Psychosocial Services, or UPD PsycServ, is a 100-volunteer-strong service organization that offers telepsychotherapy for free. The service assists callers not only with clinical issues, or mental health problems that require diagnosis by a licensed psychiatrist, but also existential issues.
According to UPD PsycServ Director Dr. Violeta Bautista, the program aims to nurture resilience and growth of Filipinos and has pivoted to address the growing concerns brought about by COVID-19. In addition top sycho therapy, the organizational so conducts wellnes sworkshops, organizational training and consultation, and research in the growing body of academic literature for Filipino mental health. UPD PsycServ may be reached atfb.com/UPDPsycServor at 0916 757 3157.
“Ang mental health, o lusog-isip, ay hindi lang kawalan ng sakit sa isip. Ang mental health ay tungkol sa well-being o kahusayan ng buong pagkatao,” said Bautista. “Sa panahong ito ng crisis, ang mahalaga ay alagaan natin ang ating sarili."
“Ang pagkakatutok natin sa mga panganib na dulot ng COVID-19 ay maaaring magdulot ng pagkawala natin ng focus sa mental health. Napaka-importante na pagtuunan din ito ng pansin upang i-manage ang stress. It’s ok na hindi magingok. Kaya hinihikayat naming na tumawag sa aming hotline para makipagusap sa aming mental health crisis responders. Paalala, anuman ang gawin natin sa panahong ito ay maaaring maligtas hindi lamang tayo, kundi pati ang ating mga mahal sa buhay, sa kapahamakan,” the Health spokesperson said.