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Health And Family

How’s your mental health today?

OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes - The Philippine Star
Howâs your mental health today?
Talking about your mental health problem is the first step towards the healing process.

Has someone asked you that question lately? Or have you dared ask that question to someone you love? Probably not. That’s because talking about mental health, unfortunately, isn’t an everyday conversation.

Expressing concern to a friend or a family member about his or her mental wellbeing can take courage. It also takes empathy. And it can feel tough or awkward to open up.

Mind health matters

“I wish someone had asked me about the state of my mental health 10 years ago,” IT expert Richard Caballero told me in a Zoom interview. “I could have done something about it, and prevented the harrowing experience I had while on a business trip in Brazil.”

Caballero was at the lounge of Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, Brazil, when he started to hyperventilate. His heart was racing. He was having an anxiety attack.

“I’ve traveled numerous times before, but I never felt this way,” Caballero shared. “I was sweating profusely. And so, the medics brought me to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. They had to keep me overnight.”

Caballero was the vice president of a global software company, doing business in over 50 countries around the globe. His job was physically and mentally taxing, to say the least.

“I wasn’t getting enough sleep with the jet lag — and stress — which I just shrugged off all these years,” adds Caballero. “What happened to me in Brazil 10 years ago was a wakeup call — a reflection of the state of my mental health and how it affected my wellbeing. It made me realize that I, too, was vulnerable.”

Medicareplus, one of the leading HMOs in the country, recently signed up a strategic partnership with HMS to offer MindWoRx to their plan holders: (from left) HMS country head Eric Yam, MedicarePlus president Jayjay Viray and vice president Jason Jalandoni.

Mental illness: A silent pandemic

There has been an increased focus on mental health, especially during the pandemic. However, many of those who feel anxious and depressed are still afraid to ask the question because of the stigma attached to mental illness.

“Stigma and discrimination can make someone's mental health problems worse,” said Caballero. “Thank goodness, the younger generation is very much aware of their feelings. Also, they are the most vocal to really address this issue.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over six million Filipinos are suffering from depression and anxiety. WHO also estimates that mental health conditions in the Philippines are costing the country P68.9 billion, which includes loss of workforce and reduced productivity.

Aside from the stigma, the top two barriers for Filipinos seeking mental health support are: the inaccessibility of services, and financial constraints of availing of the services.

The Philippines ranks third among countries with the highest rates of mental disorders in the Western Pacific Region.

If you think about it, mental illness is a much larger kind of pandemic that, if unaddressed, can severely affect millions of Filipinos.

Richard Caballero, Healthy Minds Solution founder and CEO.

Mental health solutions are just an app away

According to Caballero, his mental health scare 10 years ago inspired him to put up Healthy Mind Solutions (HMS), a Canadian wellness company that seeks to break the stigma by providing companies with mental health solutions and services that are effective, confidential, convenient, research-based, and affordable.

“Again, breaking the stigma attached to mental illness is very important,” stressed Caballero. “Once people become more open about their mental health issues, they will feel less isolated. They will realize that what they’re feeling right now is normal.”

That’s the first step towards the healing process. And that’s also where HMS can help you in your mental health journey.

HMS introduces MindWoRx in the Philippines. It’s a 100-percent web-based online mental health platform for companies looking to assist their employees overcome anxiety and depression, and help them handle the day-to-day stress and pressures at work and at home.

At the height of the pandemic, many corporations around the globe were caught flat-footed because of the impact of the pandemic on their businesses and workforce.

“The pandemic lasted longer than they thought,” Caballero noted. “Most companies hit rock bottom, and there was huge attrition.”

Today, corporations are asking the right question: “How do we prepare our employees — physically and mentally — for the next pandemic?”
“MindWoRx is an innovative and self-guided behavior therapy platform with over 150,000 users globally using the Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) approach,” explained Caballero. The platform includes a web-based Anxiety and Depression Assessment Test, online Mental Recovery & Resiliency Courses, and a Community Support Forum monitored by licensed therapists.

“One of the tenets of our software is that it is completely anonymous. One can avail of the full functionality of the software without having to reveal who you are,” Caballero explained.

It is backed by 15-plus years of peer-reviewed clinical research supporting its efficacy and is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAAA), The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) of Canada and the Mental Health Act of the Philippines.

“Human resources professionals are faced with the ever-increasing mental health challenges from their workforce. HR practitioners are looking for a preventative and innovative solution that will not only help manage the mental health issues of their employees but also provide them with tools that will help them to become more mentally resilient. HMS has the solution,” enthused Caballero.

One company that acknowledges the importance of mental fitness is Medicareplus, one of the leading HMOs in the country.

“They recently signed up a strategic partnership with HMS to offer MindWoRx to their plan holders,” Caballero added.

How does MindWoRx work?

MindWoRx has anonymous, self-guided assessment and behavior therapy courses to assist in mental recovery and strengthen the mental resilience of employees. It is confidential and available 24/7 with an annual license fee that provides them unlimited use for a full year at the same cost as a therapy session.

The Mental Resiliency Courses deal with issues on Relationships, Resolving Disputes, Shyness and Sensitivity, Role Transitions, and Grief and Loss.

With its suite of research-based programs, employees with strong mental wellbeing can better adapt to life-changing events, cope with turbulent times, handle the work pressures and quickly bounce back from hardships and tragedies.

“Management will benefit from MindWoRx as it decreases incidences of mental health-related sick days or family emergency reasons for absences,” explained Caballero. “Employees are less likely to leave the company and therefore decrease HR turnover.”

HMS’ MindWoRx is a unique, self-managed platform that is scalable, effective and customized to the needs of Filipinos.

“Our products and services are also designed to make it affordable to the average Filipino. Part of our advocacy is to donate licenses to those who can’t afford them,” Caballero explained. “Our mission is to make HMS accessible to as many Filipino workers as possible. When employees are mentally fit, they are happier and more productive both at their workplace and at home.”

* * *

For inquiries, visit www.healthymindsolutions.net and https://vimeo.com/644860040, https://vimeo.com/644864836 and https://vimeo.com/644867231.

MENTAL HEALTH

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