Psychologists' group offers mental health tips amid COVID-19 scare
A ManilaMed staff wears a surgical face mask along the LRT-MRT connecting bridge at EDSA station amid COVID-19 scare. Dumlao
Psychologists' group offers mental health tips amid COVID-19 scare
( - March 19, 2020 - 2:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — While the entire world and governments deal with the spread of novel coronavirus pandemic, people may feel stressed and anxious.

Agence France Presse reported that the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) scare sent some 500 million across the globe in a lockdown, as infections ballooned.

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine, restricting movement of families outside their homes. Some towns, cities and provinces outside of Luzon followed suit, to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

Mass transportation in Luzon has also been suspended, forcing some workers to adapt a work-from-home set up to prevent them from heading out on the streets.

The lockdown will last until April 12.

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.

They listed the following tips that may help people manage their stress and care for their mental health:

  • They suggested that the public focus on what they can control. “Take concrete steps to follow the recommendations of the Department of Health and other local agencies,” PAP said, such as washing hands frequently, disinfecting, staying at home when sick and practicing social distancing.
    “If you are practicing these recommendations, then you are already doing your part in helping to keep yourself, your loved ones, and the public, safe,” PAP said.
  • You may also “limit your exposure to news and social media to only specific hours or times of the day.” PAP noted that heavy consumption of news may bring distress. They also urged to avoid arguments on social media.
  • For those allowed to work from their homes, a regular routine should be followed. “This can give a sense of purpose and order to your day,” PAP said.
  • “Maintain good health and increase your resistance to illness by eating nutritious food, staying well-dehydrated, sleeping at least [six] hours at night, and exercising regularly.”
  • It will also help if you will stay connected to others by using phone, video or other online tools so you may also “check in on each other and share emotional support.”
  • PAP also encourages practicing empathy and compassion by contributing to humanitarian drives for those in need. A number of groups are running their own donation drives so help may be extended to the poor and the most vulnerable to the disease.
    “If you are an employer, check on your employees and find ways to support them,” PAP said.
  • They also encourage reaching out to medical professional in your area if your experience difficulty in coping, like when you have trouble sleeping or eating, or in helping yourself and the household.
    “Inquire with mental health care providers for assistance or online/tele-counseling services during the community quarantine. The PAP is discouraging face-to-face interventions at this time,” they added.

The group also said the public should remember the following:

  • Majority of people who contract COVID-19 will recover.
  • Scientists and experts are currently working hard to fund a cure and vaccine for COVID-19.
  • There is help coming from government, non-government and private sectors.
  • We are together in keeping each other physically and mentally well.

—  Kristine Joy Patag

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 29, 2020 - 7:51pm

Photo shows members of the Philippine National Police deployed in Manila amid COVID-19 threat. The STAR/Edd Gumban

President Rodrigo Duterte on March 16, 2020 declares an enhanced community quarantine over all of mainland Luzon, an expansion of an earlier general community quarantine over the National Capital Region.

The entire National Capital Region—16 cities and a municipality—is under community quarantine from March 15 to April 14, which means the enforcement of social distancing measures like letting fewer people on public transportation, reduced store hours, and the possibiity of curfews.

According to a memorandum issued by the Palace on Saturday, March 14, the quarantine means that "movement of people shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work; and uniformed personnel and quarantine officers shall be present at border points."

Travel restrictions in and out of the capital will also be implemented.

April 29, 2020 - 7:51pm

Batangas, one of the provinces hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, has reported no new cases of the disease for two consecutive days.

The provincial DOH Office says the number of COVID-19 cases in the province stood at 91 with no new cases as of Wednesday afternoon.

Lipa City has the most cases with 26, followed by Batangas City (21) and Nasugbu (11).

Tanauan City has the fourth most cases with eight, followed by Bauan (5) and Alitagtag (3). Cuenca and Sto. Tomas City had two cases each, while the municipalities of Calaca, Lemery, Lian, Lobo, Mabini, Mataas na Kahoy, Padre Garcia, San Jose, San Juan, San Pascual and Taal had one case each, respectively. — The Filipino Connection

April 29, 2020 - 5:39pm

Quezon City's Task Force Disiplina has been instructed to withdraw its complaint against Michael Rubuia whom city "enforcers" were caught on video beating with sticks over alleged quarantine violations.

The QC government says in the same statement that the enforcers of Task Force Disiplina have been issued show-cause orders for their actions. They may also be put on preventive suspension.

It also says Ruguia will be released to the city's drug rehabilitation center "in view of his positive drug test."

A police report on the April 27 incident did not mention the beating by task force personnel nor that he Ruguia had tested positive for drugs.

More on that incident here: QC to investigate 'local authorities' caught on video beating man lacking face mask

April 28, 2020 - 10:26pm

A 72-year-old Person Deprived of Liberty at the Correctional Institution for Women-Mandaluyong who had tested positive for COVID-19 died on Monday, the Bureau of Corrections says Tuesday.

She was the first confirmed COVID-19 case at the correctional facility and had been hospitalized on April 13 "after experiencing pneumonia symptoms," BuCor says.

"It can be recalled that her admission to the hospital triggered the contact tracing and isolation of those PDL that had contact with her days before she was brought to the hospital," BuCor also says.

Of 130 PDLs tested, 47 have been confirmed to have COVID-19.

A CIW PDL who had been admitted to East Avenue Medical Center on April 13 and who died on April 21 has also been confirmed to have had COVID-19. The results of the test, done on April 14, were only released on Monday.

April 27, 2020 - 2:59pm

Two new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in Lipa City on Monday even as the total recoveries jumped to five out of the 26 confirmed cases so far, the Lipa City government said.

Mayor Eric Africa announced that two male patients, ages 78 and 27 years old, tested positive for the virus, raising the city’s total infections to 26 – the most in Batangas province. The Filipino Connection

April 26, 2020 - 3:10pm

Community farms could be a "short cut" to meeting the country's food needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Caritas Philippines says, citing community farming projects that the Catholic Church in the Philippines is helping.

"The social amelioration program is not efficiently solving our food security problem however we see it as a necessary short-cut solution," Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines says

"Thus we at NASSA/Caritas Philippines strongly urge our government, especially the Department of Agriculture to start mobilizing farmers at the community level while we still have time."

The Department of Agriculture has said urban and community farming is among its strategies toward food security during the pandemic.

Bagaforo says "our community farms are helping deliver fresh vegetables to families severely affected by work suspension in Iligan, Bayombong and Camarines Sur, while a local farmers' cooperative supported by the diocese of Libmanan in Camarines Norte and the Gratia Plena program of the Diocese of San Jose in Nueva Ecija are supplying thousands of sacks of commercial and organic rice to Luzon provinces."

Backyard gardening programs in Iloilo, Bukidnon, Quezon, Leyte, the Samar provinces, Capiz, Oriental Mindoro and Zambales have also helped ensure food security for farming families, he says.

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