LIST: Practical tips to nurture family wellbeing amid pandemic
Team Padilla: Culver Padilla with wife Debbie and sons Cloud and Zeus
The STAR/File

LIST: Practical tips to nurture family wellbeing amid pandemic

Kathleen A. Llemit (Philstar.com) - February 22, 2021 - 5:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — The pandemic undeniably disrupted all aspects of living. No one was spared; everyone had their own concerns related to its effects.

According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), 73.5% of Filipino households had at least one member of the family experience job loss or workload reduction. This resulted to financial instability, with 85% of households experiencing financial difficulty during the pandemic.

In terms of psychological impact, a study titled “Psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines" (Tee, 2020) showed that a significant percentage, ranging from 13% to almost 17% of respondents, have rated the psychological impact of the pandemic, its effects on depressive symptoms and anxiety levels to be moderate to severe.

Meanwhile, the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) noted a significant increase in monthly calls from 80 pre-lockdown to nearly 400 during the quarantine.

Children, meanwhile, are also not spared. Many are forced to stay at home with their parents and guardians. School-age children have to atttend online, remote and distance learning programs while many parents and guardians have shifted to working from home.

"I think we are all affected by this pandemic. It cuts across all social classes because I would like to believe we are in the same storm but in different boats," said Dr. Francis Xavier Dimalanta, Board of Trustees of the Philippine Pediatric Society, during a recent virtual press conference.

All these mental, emotional, physical and social concerns are integral to the family's wellbeing. The National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement (NCPFCE) defines family wellbeing simply as the “safety, health, and financial security of the whole family," which encompasses both physical and mental health.

"Family wellbeing is about giving holistic development for the family. Ito po'y nagsisimula sa magandang pag-iisip ng mga magulang na nagiging magandang puso at galaw. At kung unang-una po kung ang mga magulang ay anxious at depressed, mas lalo pong mastre-stress ang kanilang mga anak. Importante po na nagsisimula sa magulang with our inner strengths at nakikita po nila ang kahalagahan ng holistic health and, of course, safety," explained Dr. Sheila Hocson, program director of Heads Up PH.

The doctors weighed in on the issues surrounding family wellbeing and gave practical tips on how every Filipino family can promote their family's wellbeing.

1. Walk the talk.

"I would say we've got to walk the talk. Bilang Pilipino family, kung ano ang ginagawa natin, that is if we manifest a healthy family wellbeing in the context of physical health, social and mental health, then it is a matter of walking the talk," said Dr. Adelaida Gines, President of the Philippine Guidance and Counselling Association.

2. Be open.

Dr. Maria Annette Bautista, Life Fellow of Philippine Psychiatric Association and Philippine Neurological Association said that in relation to "walking the talk," the family must also be open.

"Be open because sometimes we are not open that we are not perfect. But we have things we need to change as parents or as adolescents. Related to walk the talk, we have to be open that we need help sometimes. That we need to be open to programs like this and not say, 'E di naman kami ganyan e. Okay naman ako a. Hindi naman ako mali e,' which I always see in patients. It would be nice to realize and accept that there are also things that we need to change within ourselves to promote family wellbeing," said Dr. Bautista.

3. Try to balance between giving love and setting limits.

Dr. Kenneth Ross Javate, Fellow of Philippine Psychiatric Assocation and Philippine Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, reminded the parents of doing a balancing act.

4. Make sure to spend a quality time and create a nourishing environment.

Dr. Hocson believes that having these will greatly improve the many quotients the child should be developing, namely, intelligence, emotional, spiritual, adversity, resiliency and diversity quotients. Also important are his understanding on social relationships, digital citizenship and digital wellbeing.

"Among the Gen Zs, love is always equated with quality time. Una po na priority ay ang ating pamilya more than anything else. Through our examples, we let them see that this is a nourishing environment," Dr. Hocson emphasized.

5. Set a positive mindset.

"Let's all believe that this pandemic is temporary and that we have to hold on to our faith, and that's any kind. We're not espousing any religion, but I think the belief in a higher being who's in charge may get us through this," Dr. Dimalanta said.

Dr. Rhodora Andrea Concepcion, President of Philippine Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, added that apart from having a hopeful mindset, it is important to anticipate the new normal.

"Maraming aral din ang binigay na pandemyang ito sa aspeto ng ating buhay -- pisikal, emosyonal, spiritual, kaisipan. Siguro panahon na rin upang eksaminin natin ang bawat isa, ang mga nakagawian bago mag-pandemya, ano ang mainam na ipagpatuloy at mainam na baguhin na sa susunod na bagong normal," she shared.

For as little as P250 ($5), you can help raise a resilient child by providing him or her with materials to help him express himself and develop coping strategies via the Bayanihan for Wellbeing Collaborative led by Unilab Foundation, Inc. through its Heads Up PH program, with the support of the Philippine Psychiatric Association, Psychological Association of the Philippines, Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association, and Philippine Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Donations can be done via bank deposit via Unilab Foundation, Inc. – BPI Mandaluyong – Account number 0181-0489-72 (Swift code: BOPIPHM). Please send a photo of your deposit slip to: headsup@unilabfoundation.org. You may also donate via PayPal at healthierPH@unilabfoundation.org and send a screenshot of your transaction to headsup@unilabfoundation.org.

You can also support the cause by donating a Bayanihan for WellBeing Resiliency Play Bag, which is composed of: (1) Toys like sipa and kickball, which are intended to help children release tension; (2) Cape and mask which they could design, allowing them to identify their strengths and make them feel like Superheroes; and (3) Writing and coloring sheets to encourage their creativity and help them express their emotions.

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