Cebu Mental Health Caravan Reaches TC
Photo by Keith Ayuma
Dr. Manuel Pocholo de los Santos, the speaker of the event, started off by stating that he regrets the stigma surrounding mental health among Filipinos. He pointed out that Filipinos tend to misunderstand the term, associating it with mental disorders. This association, he claimed, prevents those who are not afflicted with disorders from seeking mental wellness.
“Mental health is not about mental disorders. Mental health is the opposite of mental disorders and requires very good coping mechanisms,” he explained. “It’s about how you see things, how you relate with things, and how you cope with things — it’s about living life.”
Dr. de los Santos moved on to tackle the mental health issues that young adults today are prone to namely depression, anxiety, and stress. He clarified that these disorders have distinct, clinical definitions that laymen tend to misuse in mislabelling and self-diagnosing their own mental disorders. Depression and anxiety have symptoms that should be observed for a specific length of time before they can be diagnosed by a professional. These are not, the speaker explains, ephemeral states that people tend to think of them as.
The presentation ended with an open forum. One member of the audience asked the speaker how to deal with people with mental disorders who refuse to seek help. Dr. de los Santos answered that it is unethical to force counseling onto someone who is not willing, able and ready for it.
The speaker also taught the audience how to handle and help someone experiencing suicidal thoughts. He instructed them to allow the person to vent and to listen carefully to what they have to say. A non-professional should never attempt counseling and should only refer a suicidal person to a proper clinic.
Hon. Kent Talisaysay, one of the event organizers from the USC Supreme Student Council, explains that the event was necessary in “raising awareness in the students, breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and letting them understand that mental health is as important as physical health.”
The organizers left the audience with the phone numbers of “Tawag Paglaum” — a 24/7 suicide prevention hotline. Anyone in Central Visayas experiencing a mental disorder relapse or suicidal thoughts may reach the hotline at 0939-936-5433 or 0927-654-1629.
Cebu Mental Health Week will be holding several other activities including mental health exhibits, a spoken word poetry night, and a benefit concert from Oct.13 to 21, 2018.