DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said their mental health experts have been organizing art sessions in evacuation camps to help children cope with trauma caused by the temblors.
Presidential Photo/File
DOH uses art therapy for earthquake-affected kids
John Unson, Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Psycho-social counselors of the Department of Health (DOH) are employing art therapy for earthquake-affected children in Mindanao.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said their mental health experts have been organizing art sessions in evacuation camps to help children cope with trauma caused by the temblors.

“Art therapy is a method being used to help children overcome their fears or trauma. They are asked to draw how they feel, so the counselors will have an idea about their conditions,” Duque said over the weekend.

The children were provided with clay and other art materials that they could use.

Duque said the psycho-social team was instructed to ensure that victims are assisted until they are able to overcome whatever mental concerns they have.

“They say in Baguio, it took one month for the victims to recover. Maybe, it will also take one month in Mindanao but no matter how long, we will be there to help them,” he added.

Duque said aside from emotional trauma, the victims also have to deal with the pain brought by the loss of their homes or livelihood. 

The DOH deployed eight teams composed of five experts in medical, mental health, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene as well as engineers to quake-stricken areas.

DOH-emergency management staff director Gloria Balboa said the psycho-social counselors were tasked to provide “mental health and psycho-social support” to the victims.

Balboa said among the teams’ initial observations was a majority of the children do not want to go to school or be separated from their parents for fear that another quake would occur.

She said some children were experiencing nightmares while others have difficulty sleeping.

As part of the counseling, the victims – especially the adults – were encouraged to talk about their experience to release stress.

“Some are organizing a concert or any form of entertainment at the evacuation centers to help ease the victims’ minds,” Balboa said.

Meanwhile, health workers are providing children with medical interventions to prevent the spread of diseases in evacuation sites.

Thousands of evacuees do not have access to clean water and restrooms.

Engineers of the Metro Kidapawan Water District (MKWD) have been trying to restore water supply in villages hit by the quakes.

Relief goods continued to arrive, but the need for clean water and tents remains a major concern of local government units.

Mayor Joseph Evangelista is hopeful the MKWD could soon restore the water supply.

FRANCISCO DUQUE III
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