How to comfort people with depression: Miss Grand International bet Samantha Lo gives tips
Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo ( - October 10, 2019 - 5:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — Miss Grand International Philippines Samantha Ashley Lo has flown to Venezuela, despite the polical unrest in the country, to compete in the global pageant on October 25.

In a prior interview with, the Cebuana beauty queen expounded on her mental health advocacy.

According to her, she still has a semester to finish as a nursing student. Her dream of becoming a mental health nurse sprung from her sister, a clinical psychologist in the United States. She said her sister used to work for the government, treating veterans from war.

“Now, she has her own private practice, which I’m very proud of her for doing. It’s just helps so many people,” Sam shared.

“I just always found that interesting and just help people be their best.”

Part of her mission is to help eliminate the stigma hounding people with mental health problems.

“I understand that it’s a stigma in the Philippines and I really want to wipe that stigma away. There’s nothing wrong about trying to be healthy… I really admire people who do that,” she enthused.

“In the states, we are very open about mental health. If you have a therapist, you have a therapist. Again, we admire the effort you put to become a better person.”

Based on her experience working in hospitals, depressed people are “hurting mentally and physically,” which “can take a toll on them.”

“I go to these public hospitals and the conditions are poor,” she fretted. “I feel my happiest when I go in there, they’re not feeling the best. By the time I leave, after my shift, they’re already smiling.”

If it is already challenging for trained people like her to deal with depressed people, then the harder it is for those who have not studied it professionally, she said.

“That’s a little tricky because everyone’s different. When it comes to depression, suicide, I usually talk to a friend about it and they said that you can’t tell someone who is depressed or suicidal to smile, be happy and get better or don’t be negative. They’re not choosing to be negative. They want to get better. They just have a sense of hopelessness,” she clarified.

“So, what you can do, in a way, for those who are not licensed, distract them. Put up a distraction of some sort. That’s the closest advice I could give anyone. Talk about what their favorite movie is. Talk about what kind of food they like. What hobbies they have. That’s the best advice I’ve encountered that my friend has given me.”

Although she has not experienced what she can call “depression,” she admitted that she, too, has her own battles to fight.

“I went through highs and I went through lows, but I can’t say that it’s depression. I can say that I faced challenges and it took some time to understand it. I’m not perfect. I get frustrated. But at the end of the day, what I’ve learned is I just have to be patient because nothing that’s productive is gonna come out of being frustrated.”

At the last Binibining Pilipinas pageant, Lo’s fellow contender, Vickie Rushton, buckled when asked to answer the question, “Why is mental health as important as physical health?”

As an aspiring mental health nurse, here is Samantha’s response: “They supplement each other, especially the mental health. If you’re not mentally healthy, it’s definitely gonna show. Eventually, it will take the toll on your body and it could affect your overall health altogether. You can just become sick. It’s like a domino effect. So, being mentally healthy in a way, I think, is even more important than being physically healthy, because it affects the other.”  — Video by Kat Leandicho

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