MANILA, Philippines – The National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) has tasked counselors to man a hotline for cases of depression and other mental health problems in the country.
The agency on Thursday (May 2) launched the NCMH Crisis Hotline numbers, 0917-899-USAP and 989-USAP for Filipinos needing mental health crisis intervention and counseling services.
NCMH chief, Allan Troy Baquir said, “The hotline aims to reach out to those who do not have the immediate means to seek advice and serves as an avenue to offer hope and care for those who have mental health issues.”
Hotline counsellors have been assigned to attend to calls on depression, psychiatric emergencies, suicidal thoughts, grief and loss, relationship issues, sexual abuse, and domestic violence among other issues.
Those who are assessed with high risk will be immediately provided with intervention, Baquir said.
The World Health Organization reports that around 800,000 people die annually due to suicide. – Marje Pelayo
A mental illness crisis is looming as millions of people worldwide are surrounded by death and disease and forced into isolation, poverty and anxiety by the pandemic of COVID-19, United Nations health experts said on Thursday (May 14).
“The isolation, the fear, the uncertainty, the economic turmoil – they all cause or could cause psychological distress,” said Devora Kestel, director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) mental health department.
Presenting a U.N. report and policy guidance on COVID-19 and mental health, Kestel said an upsurge in the number and severity of mental illnesses is likely, and governments should put the issue “front and centre” of their responses.
The mental health and wellbeing of whole societies have been severely impacted by this crisis and will be addressed urgently, she told reporters at a briefing.
The report highlighted several regions – such as China, Iran and the United States, and sections of societies as vulnerable to mental distress, including children and young people isolated from friends and school, healthcare workers who are seeing thousands of patients infected with and dying from the new coronavirus.
Emerging studies and surveys are already showing COVID-19’s impact on mental health globally. Psychologists say children are anxious and increases in cases of depression and anxiety have been recorded in several countries.
Domestic violence is rising, and health workers are reporting an increased need for psychological support.
Reuters last week reported from interviews with doctors and nurses in the United States who said either they or their colleagues had experienced a combination of panic, anxiety, grief, numbness, irritability, insomnia and nightmares.
Outside of the health sector, the WHO report said many people are distressed by the immediate health impacts and the consequences of physical isolation, while many others are afraid of infection, dying, and losing family members.
Millions of people are facing economic turmoil, having lost or being at risk of losing their income and livelihoods, it added. And frequent misinformation and rumours about the pandemic and deep uncertainty about how long it will last are making people feel anxious and hopeless about the future.
It outlined action points for policy-makers to aim “to reduce immense suffering among hundreds of millions of people and mitigate long-term social and economic costs to society”.
These included redressing historic under-investment in psychological services, providing “emergency mental health” via remote therapies such as tele-counselling for frontline health workers, and working proactively with people known to have depression and anxiety, and with those at high risk of domestic violence and acute impoverishment. (Reuters)
The mental health of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) personnel is top priority, according to NCRPO Chief PMGen. Debold Sinas.
According to Sinas, the NCRPO frontliners are facing anxiety and other psychological impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the consequent enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“Being in the frontlines, most of my men chose not to be in close contact with their families anymore to lessen the chances of possible contamination in their homes. The extension of this community quarantine is also agonizing for them,” he said.
Because of this, the NCRPO through its Regional Health Service, launched a Mental Health Awareness Program for its personnel.
The program aims to monitor the mental health of every personnel especially those who were deployed in the frontlines.
“Our personnel is our most important resource. This is why we want to ensure that they get to have the support that they deserve to fight the unseen enemy. It is our obligation to guarantee that they have enough rest, nourishment and psychological abetment to withstand the challenges ahead,” Sinas said. AAC
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