Pandemic-related woes prod many to seek mental health support
Anxiety concerns stemming from the pandemic have prod many Filipinos to seek mental health support, a health official said Wednesday.
In a virtual press briefing, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the hotline of the National Center for Mental Health has received a high volume of calls from April to July when the country was placed under community quarantine to curb the rise in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections.
“The peak was last June 2020 where we received 1,115 calls,” Vergeire said. “For August 2020, the top reason for calling was anxiety-related concerns due to the pandemic with 109 calls at hindi pa po tapos ang Agosto (and we’re still in August).”
As for suicide-related calls, she noted that the average monthly number of calls is 53, peaking in July with 115 calls.
“Hindi po lahat ng tumatawag ay bago, mayroon pong na-ta-tag na repeat call iyon. Basta ang mga tawag na ito ay binibilang natin (Not all calls are new. Some calls are tagged as repeat calls. We count the calls) per call and not per individual,” she said.
In its policy brief on Covid-19 and mental health, the WHO said reports indicate an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety in several countries.
The social distancing and enforced isolation, as well as massive job losses and uncertain future, are taking a psychological toll on people.
People needing mental health support and assistance are urged to call the NCMH Crisis Hotlines 0917-899-USAP (8727), (02) 7-989-USAP, and 1553 (landline to landline, toll-free).
“This is free, this is confidential, so anyone who calls here, no information will go out because we had an agreement with our responders. They’re trained to refer, triage, to assess who needs (a) higher level of facility,” she said.
Data from the NCMH as of August 15 show that a total of 9,494 Filipinos were provided mental health services in the past year.
On March 17, the DOH, through the NCMH, activated a team of responders composed of doctors, psychologists, and nurses who set up the operations of 24/7 DOH Covid-19 Hotline.
The hotline aims to communicate and provide health and psychosocial support to Filipinos.— Source:/ (PNA)