âJob insecurity, isolation triggering mental health issuesâ
UP Diliman Psychosocial Services (PsycServ) head Violeta Bautista said they have seen an increase in the number of people experiencing anxiety as a result of the current public health crisis.
Wokandapix from Pixabay
‘Job insecurity, isolation triggering mental health issues’
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - September 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The social and economic impacts of the pandemic have triggered mental health concerns among Filipinos, according to a psychologist at the University of the Philippines.

UP Diliman Psychosocial Services (PsycServ) head Violeta Bautista said they have seen an increase in the number of people experiencing anxiety as a result of the current public health crisis.

“Even before the pandemic, we have already observed an increase in cases of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideations,” she said in an interview with “The Chiefs” on OneNews/TV5 on Tuesday.

“It ballooned during the pandemic, with the most incidents involving anxiety,” she added.

Initially established to serve members of the university community, PsycServ has since expanded its coverage and is now providing free tele-psychiatry services to the general public.

The initiative has catered to individuals from different age groups, with Bautista saying many of those who seek support are working age adults.

Bautista noted that many of those who sought their services are experiencing anxiety due to uncertainties and the threat of an illness that people are not familiar with.

Among the triggers, she said, are isolation during the height of the lockdowns and concerns regarding jobs and livelihood.

According to Bautista, isolation from social support can also trigger anxiety, noting how the current pandemic has heightened the socio-economic disparity among the general public.

She stressed the need to provide psychological support to those experiencing anxiety and other mental health concerns, noting how it can help people cope with the current situation.

Go: Improve suicide awareness

Meanwhile, Sen. Bong Go called on the Department of Health (DOH) to improve suicide awareness among specific demographic sectors, particularly among rural communities and the youth, following a reported increase in suicide rates.

Go, who chairs the Senate committee on health and demography, said the DOH should have a wider program on suicide awareness.

“In a span of one month, there were more suicides than COVID-19 deaths in the provinces. It’s really alarming because many of them were youths,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Go said the mental health system remains underfunded and many Filipinos receiving mental health treatment prior to the pandemic have likely been cut off from such services.

He reiterated his plea to the DOH and other national agencies such as the labor and social welfare departments to take advantage of online platforms and other technologies such as mobile applications through which they can provide free mental health services.

Under Republic Act 11036, also known as the Mental Health Act, the DOH is mandated to develop and implement a national mental health program and, in coordination with relevant government agencies, improve awareness and promote effective strategies regarding mental health care.

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