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Addressing mental health amid a pandemic

BETTER DAYS Senator Sonny Angara Mental health has historically been a difficult subject to talk about in Philippine society. Many of us, no doubt, have our own stories, personal or otherwise, of how difficult it is to seek help. In fact, in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, an August, 2020, analysis of many studies on the matter confirmed that the low utilization of mental health services among Filipinos could be attributed in part to the stigma associated with mental health issues, with resilience and self-reliance becoming possible alternate coping strategies. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made mental health an even bigger issue. The quarantine, the economic effects of the pandemic, and the anxieties brought about by the virus’ unpredictability have had a negative effect on the mental health of many Filipinos. Although we as a country are consistently rated to be in the Top 5 of a global optimism index, according to the DOH, the calls for help have been increasing. According to the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), their helpline received about 400 calls monthly from May, 2019, to February, 2020. That’s an average of 13 to 15 calls daily. By March, 672 calls were serviced, and this grew steadily in the following months, until there were 1,034 calls in July – and 440 for the half of August. These double the monthly average from March to August to 876 calls, or 32 to 37 calls daily. Many government and private mental health services are available for people who are seeking help or just someone to talk to. Aside from the NCMH crisis hotline, the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation has confidential crisis lines and a referral system to partnered psychologists. The foundation is also a hub for prevention, recognition, and treatment of depression. The Philippine Mental Health Association also offers similar services, and universities like UST, UP Diliman, and Ateneo de Manila have their own mental health service organizations. Some, like Ateneo’s Center for Family Ministries have affordable or negotiable fees. Online resources like the Silakbo.Ph website have listings for many other mental health service providers outside of the NCR. In fact, many organizations have already partnered with the Department of Health (DOH); perhaps more of them should be invited to the table to plan new policies, projects, and initiatives that will address the growing number of mental health cases. The DOH is also encouraging people to learn more about general mental health through free e-learning courses translated into Filipino.  The source material is from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) QualityRights initiative, which is a global project that aims to help participants improve their own mental health, learn how to support their loved ones and communities, and gain knowledge and skills to tackle mental health issues. Clearly, we need to reassess and adapt to the fact that more Filipinos are now looking for mental health services and treatments. This is why I am seeking to amend Republic Act 11036, the Mental Health Act, particularly its existing chapter on “Rights of Service Users and Other Stakeholders.” Our proposed amendment seek to give health service users the right to immediately receive compensation benefits and special financial assistance they are entitled to under law, should they sustain temporary or permanent mental disability in the line of duty or by reason of a person’s office or position. This is an important amendment, as the Mental Health Act requires that PhilHealth provide insurance packages to patients with mental health conditions, and that access to medicines is ensured. With the observation of World Mental Health Day last October 10, it is important to remember the DOH’s theme for this year, “Mental Health for All: Unifying Voices for Greater Investment and Access.”  This theme encourages that we open conversations on the various challenges that our mental health care system faces every day, such as social stigma and limited funding. In fact, the simple act of marking the day itself is important. It shows those who are suffering that we see them, and care for them. It tells others who are hiding their issues that it is perfectly normal to seek help. And most of all, it encourages the whole world to stand in solidarity in recognition of the need for all of society to help those with mental health issues. E-mail: sensonnyangara@yahoo.com| Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @sonnyangara Senator Sonny Angara has been in public service for 16 years—9 years as Representative of the Lone District of Aurora, and 7 as Senator. He has authored and sponsored more than 200 laws.  He is currently serving his second term in the Senate. .....»»

Category: newsSource: mb.com.ph mb.com.phOct 18th, 2020

Around 3.6 million Filipinos suffering from mental disorders — DOH

MANILA, Philippines — Some 3.6 million Filipinos are suffering from mental disorders amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a Department of Health (DOH) survey. The survey, which was presented by DOH National Mental Health Program head Frances Prescila Cuevas in a recent online press briefing, showed that at least 3.6 million Filipinos are […] The post Around 3.6 million Filipinos suffering from mental disorders — DOH appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 14th, 2020

3.6 M Pinoys suffer from mental disorder amid pandemic – DoH

  BY ANALOU DE VERA     The Department of Health (DoH) reported Wednesday that at least 3.6 million Filipinos were found to be suffering from various forms of mental disorder amid the COVID-19 pandemic. DoH National Mental Health Program Manager Dr. Frances Prescilla Cuevas said that this is the initial result of the national prevalence […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsOct 14th, 2020

3.6 million Pinoys suffer from mental disorders – DOH survey

Around 3.6 million Filipinos are suffering from mental disorders amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to initial results of a Department of Health survey......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 13th, 2020

Mental health, holistic health

World Mental Health Day was on Oct. 10, 2020. The World Health Organization’s goal for this year’s celebration was to increase investment in mental health, addressing and anticipating the increased need for mental health and psychosocial support that has resulted from the unique circumstances of the pandemic. The way we experience the pandemic is highly […] The post Mental health, holistic health appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 12th, 2020

Go urges government to level up mental health interventions

Sen. Bong Go, chair of the committee on health, has urged the government to step up its interventions addressing mental health concerns as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause distress to Filipinos and other nationals......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2020

Iloilo SK prexy prioritizes youth s mental health during pandemic

ILOILO CITY, Aug. 5 (PIA) - The Sangguniang Kabataan Federation - Iloilo Chapter is prioritizing the mental health of the youth in their activities amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pand.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsAug 6th, 2020

Mental health must be a priority, Sen. Go stresses

The Departments of Health and Social Welfare and Development must join efforts in extending psychosocial assistance to individuals struggling with mental health issues. Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said anxiety, depression and other more serious psychological issues increased amid quarantines and lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “Aside from physical health, ‘yung mental health, napaka-importante […] The post Mental health must be a priority, Sen. Go stresses appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 30th, 2020

Canada invests in online mental health care amid pandemic

Canada will invest CAN$240 million (US$170 million) to develop virtual care and mental health tools for residents to better cope with the consequences of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday. The funds will be used mainly to create new digital platforms and applications to give Canadians “strategies to manage stress or […] The post Canada invests in online mental health care amid pandemic appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 4th, 2020

UPB forms task forces to address constituents’ needs amid pandemic

3 MIN READ Amid the COVID-19 crisis placing Luzon in enhanced community quarantine, UP Baguio established intra-institutional task forces to address its constituents' needs with regard to sustenance, transportation and mental health. The post UPB forms task forces to address constituents’ needs amid pandemic appeared first on Northern Dispatch......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 5th, 2020

Runners still finding release on the road during coronavirus

By JOHN ZENOR AP Sports Writer Henry Ton was looking for a way to help himself and neighbors stay fit and active after his gym closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 46-year-old software engineer in suburban Phoenix organized a small running group he jokingly calls his “Social Distance Distance Running Club.” Runners across the country are still hitting the pavement and the trails, singly and in small groups. It’s a way to get in their workouts, reduce the sense of isolation and work off some stress with gyms closed amid the coronavirus. “Everybody's probably like me, just sitting around in my house eating all day,” Ton quipped. “This is a way to get out, get some fresh air, sweat a little.” For some, running also provides a social outlet in a time when officials are encouraging social distancing and limiting the size of gatherings to 10 or fewer. Many have given up that aspect of it too, yielding to the safety of solo runs. Elite distance runner Kaitlin Gregg Goodman is among those urging people to run alone. Goodman posted on Twitter: “QUIT RUNNING IN GROUPS." For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. Sports cardiologist Benjamin Levine said continuing to run has physical and psychological benefits. But he also suggests those running with others should likely double the recommended six feet of social distancing because of the increase in the amount of air they’re breathing in and out. “I think it’s preserving both your physical and your mental health,” said Levine, who is a professor of medicine at UT Southwestern and Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas. “I think it’s critical. But that’s not just psychological. That’s biological. I think exercise is one of the few things we can do that has a very, very clear and manifest positive mental health benefit.” But Levine, the director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, said people need to observe guidelines. “It’s not the time to be running hand in hand,” he said. In Montgomery, Alabama, Marsha Trotter and members of her running group still gather four mornings a week for runs. They split up into smaller groups for different workouts, as usual, but are more conscious of keeping their distance. They spread out for post-run photos to post on their Facebook page instead of standing side by side. “It’s a normalcy,” said Trotter, a 45-year-old registered nurse. “Obviously people are not going to come out if they’re running a fever or have a cough or feel sick. That’s normal all year round anyway. But I think runners are crazy enough anyway so that nothing really scares them, so they’re going to come out and run and then go home.” Runners keep lacing up and heading out even while most races are canceled or postponed, including the Boston Marathon. Gail Nestor, a 52-year-old from Johns Creek, Georgia, had qualified for Boston, which has been postponed until Sept. 14. Nestor has kept logging about 75 miles a week, first enjoying the social aspect and “running just for running’s sake.” She said it helps her cope and she has more time these days, too. “We joke about how we’re helping our immune system," Nestor said. “We’re like, We need a support group, Runners Without Races.” The rapidly changing dynamics of this pandemic have changed the running habits of Nestor, who has finished Boston twice among her 19 marathons. Nestor originally was still running with one or two other people, though they tried their best to stay at least 6 feet away from one another at all times. She noted Wednesday that she’s now running on her own to protect herself from the virus as much as possible. Like Nestor, other runners have opted to mostly go solo. Aidan Walsh, founder of Racefaster in New Jersey, advises his runners to run alone these days. The 39-year-old former Fairleigh Dickinson runner said many are logging more miles with their social and perhaps professional lives restricted to varying degrees. “I would venture to say they’re doing more than they ever did simply because they have less going on in their lives and also there’s really nothing else to do," said Walsh, who started the retail stores and serves as a running coach and race director. “They can’t go to work, they can’t go to the gym. They can’t go swimming." But people can run — even in virtual races. For those Harry Potter enthusiasts, there's this: A virtual running group that's "changing the muggle world — one mile at a time." The Potterhead Running Club is the brainchild of Brian Biggs, a big Harry Potter fan who caught the running bug six years ago. He started the club with participants completing a distance that’s chosen along with an individualized theme. They can walk, bike, swim and lift weights to complete their goals. “Everyone is welcome in our community, and every skill level can do a virtual run. Because you don't have to actually run," said Biggs, an reserve officer in the U.S. Air Force. He is currently assigned as an emergency preparedness officer for the state of Vermont and lives in Connecticut. “You can walk, you can bike, you can swim. You can sashay or meander. We like to say, 'It's your race, your pace at your place.'” So far, the Harry Potter group has logged more than 12 million miles and earned more than $2,200,000 for nonprofit charities around the world. Another Georgia runner, Susan Camp, founded the Decatur branch of Moms Run This Town. Camp said her group generally had 12-15 runners for their Saturday morning outings. When the coronavirus threat first hit, they discussed doing group runs with staggered starts. That changed as the virus spread. By Monday, her chapter decided not to organize any group runs during this period of social distancing. “I had some women chime in and thank us for making that call because it was making them nervous, seeing people organizing group runs and asking for people to run with them,” the 40-year-old Camp said. Camp acknowledged that she would miss the connection, friendship and support that often comes from running with others. One member established a Facebook page that gave them a place on social media to discuss the running and wellness goals they otherwise might have shared during their group runs. “We just get so much out of running together,” Camp said. “You can ask anybody, it’s for our mental health.” ___ AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Milwaukee, David Brandt in Phoenix and Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2020

Psychologists group offers mental health tips amid COVID-19 scare

The Psychological Association of the Philippines said it is “normal to worry about or health and that of our loved ones, our work, and finances” amid a pandemic......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 19th, 2020

China to donate 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to PH — Palace

Malacañang said Saturday that the Chinese government will donate 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines as the two countries reaffirmed ties and cooperation against the pandemic. Chinese State Counselor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (DFA OFFICIAL TWITTER ACCOUNT/ MANILA BULLETIN) The Office of the President (OP) made the statement as Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi made a 40-minute courtesy call to President Duterte in Malacañang Saturday. In a statement, the OP said that Wang assured Duterte of China’s commitment to support the Philippines’ efforts to combat COVID-19, a disease that originated in Wuhan, China. “He (Wang) announced that China will donate 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines. He likewise affirmed China’s resolve to do everything to ensure that vaccines become a global good,” Malacañang said. According to Malacañang, Duterte lauded the continued high-level engagement between the Philippines and China even amid the pandemic and stressed the importance of both sides delivering on the promises of the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation. Duterte stressed that cooperation on public health must be strengthened, particularly access to safe and effective vaccines, to safeguard the health of the people and in order to hasten the economic recovery of both nations and their neighboring countries. “The recovery of nations… sits on the back of stronger economies,” Duterte told Wang. “China plays a very key role in reviving our region’s economy. Let us do all we can to revive economic activities between the Philippines and China,” he added. Malacañang said that Duterte thanked China for its continuing support and cooperation in the country’s fight against COVID-19 in terms of medical equipment and supplies and sharing of experiences and expertise as well as in the repatriation of Filipinos. Economic cooperation Wang declared that China will continue to support the Philippines’ recovery through enhanced economic cooperation. He likewise reiterated his country’s determination to complete pending infrastructure projects. The Palace said that Wang underscored China’s commitment under President Xi Jinping to work closely with the Philippines to sustain the positive trajectory of the valued and special bilateral relations. At the start of his presidency in 2016, Duterte has expressed his desire to build stronger relations with China — even temporarily setting aside the country’s victory over the West Philippine Sea in The Hague to make it happen......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsJan 17th, 2021

Private schools working to provide quality education amid the pandemic

Almost after a year of being cooped up indoors due to the global health crisis, some people have started realizing that we are no longer fighting the virus. We are adapting to live with it. And as much as we hate the idea, we have no choice but to accept the reality and adapt to […] The post Private schools working to provide quality education amid the pandemic appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 11th, 2021

Digital health in spotlight as pandemic shifts tech show focus

Digital health care is in the spotlight at the tech industry's big event this week amid a pandemic that has highlighted the importance of remote services, with a potentially lasting impact on medical delivery......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 11th, 2021

NBA stars sidelined due to health protocols as season goes on amid pandemic

The new NBA season is in full swing, but the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is still greatly affecting its operations......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 11th, 2021

Devotion amid the pandemic

Today, devotees of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila will hopefully not make the thick crowds of yore---given the health protocols which police will strictly implement to secure the route during the 22-hour Traslacion that began Friday night......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2021

IN PHOTOS: 1st day of Fiesta Señor 2021

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Amid threats of the pandemic, and health protocols imposed, thousands attended the first day of Novena Mass for the Fiesta Señor at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu. Around 3,000 individuals gathered inside and outside the centuries-old church to pay honor to Snr. Sto. Niño, with face masks and […] The post IN PHOTOS: 1st day of Fiesta Señor 2021 appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 8th, 2021

‘Pandemic cannot change faith to Snr. Sto. Niño’

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Amid threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), devotees flocked to the the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu on Friday, January 8, 2021, to attend the opening salvo of the 456th Fiesta Señor.  But unlike before, there was no overflowing crowd as social distancing, part of the church’s health protocols being […] The post ‘Pandemic cannot change faith to Snr. Sto. Niño’ appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 8th, 2021

Golf swings to new heights amid pandemic

Surprisingly, golf is in some kind of a boom during this stretch of the global health crisis with local clubs enjoying a tremendous increase in players’ turnout the last few months......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 5th, 2021

Duterte warns airport officials allegedly allowing passengers skip protocols amid pandemic

President Rodrigo Duterte warned he will sack airport officials who let travellers to easily enter the country while health and safety restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are in place......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 5th, 2021