‘It’s okay not to be okay’: Gov’t urges public to call a friend if feeling down
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and Malacañang on Monday encouraged the public who may be experiencing depression or anxiety to look for someone to talk to or to call mental care hotlines, even reminding them that “it is okay to not be okay.”
“Ito pong ating mga kababayan na nakakaranas ng fears, anxieties, depression, feeling of hopelessness and helplessness, maaari po kayong tumawag dito sa mga hotlines natin ng National Center for Mental Health [NCMH],” DOH spokesperson Ma. Rosario Vergeire said in an online Palace briefing.
(To our countrymen who may be experiencing fears, anxieties, depression, feeling of hopelessness and helplessness, you may call hotlines of the National Center for Mental Health.)
Vergeire also suggested seeking help from other institutions like the Philippine Mental Health Association, University of the Philippines Diliman Psychosocial Services, and Ateneo Bulatao Center for Psychosocial Services.
“Ang gusto ko lang po iparating sa ating mga kababayan, unang-una, it’s okay not to be okay. Lahat po tayo nakakaranas ng ganyang pakiramdam ngayon dahil sa sitwasyon na ito. Pero kailangan lang po ang suporta ng pamilya, suporta ng komunidad,” she said.
(It’s okay not to be okay. Everyone experiences these emotions because of the situation. But what we need is the support of family members and the community.)
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque echoed Vergeire’s statements, adding that he himself previously experienced the same thing and it prompted him to seek counseling from a spiritual leader.
“Tama po ang sinabi ni Usec. Vergeire, sa mga panahon ng pandemya, okay lang po na hindi maging okay. As someone who has had an experience when I had health challenges myself, ako po, I went to my spiritual leader for lots, for many many sessions of counselling,” Roque said.
(What Usec. Vergeire said was right, it’s okay not to be okay. As someone who has had an experience when I had health challenges myself, I went to my spiritual leader for lots, for many many sessions of counseling.)
“So whether be it a medical professional or a spiritual leader, kinakailangan po humanap tayo ng kausap,” he went on.
(Whether it be a medical professional or a spiritual leader, let’s look for someone to talk to.)
Earlier, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra sought the help of the religious sector after receiving information that there is an “alarming increase” in suicide incidents.
NCMH previously said they have been receiving 300 to 400 calls in their mental care hotline since several parts of the country were placed on lockdown in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NCMH’s hotline is 0917-899-USAP (8727) or 7-989-USAP (8727).
The Mental Health Act directs NCMH to launch a hotline to assist those suffering from mental health problems.
Also, the Philippine Red Cross has its Suicide Prevention Hopeline: 2919 (toll-free for Globe and TM subscribers), 0917-558-4673 or 804-4673 while the Philippine Psychiatric Association offers a hotline for frontliners who may be feeling low in this time of pandemic: 0918-942-4864, email@example.com.
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