On World Suicide Prevention Day, the Department of Health (DOH) posted an advisory on promoting holistic mental wellness during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), the country saw a jump in monthly hotline calls regarding depression, to almost 400 from 80 before the COVID-19 crisis.
Aside from the NCMH's 24/7 crisis hotline (1553, 0917-8998727, 7989-8727), the DOH also gave some advice on how to deal with someone who might be suffering from mental health issues:
- Let them know that you care about them and that they are not alone, emphatize with them. You can say something like, "I can't imagine how painful this is for you, but I would like to try to understand."
- Be non-judgmental. Don't criticize or blame them.
- Show that you are listening by repeating infromation they have shared with you. This can also make sure that you have understood them properly.
- Ask about their reasons for living and dying and listen to their answers. Try to explore their reasons for living in more detail.
- Ask if they have felt like this before. If so, ask how their feelings changed last time.
- Reassure them they will not feel this way forever.
- Encourage them to focus on getting through the day rather than focusing on the future.
- Volunteer to assist them in finding professional help. If need be, offer to keep them company during their session with a licensed therapist.
- Follow up any commitments that you agree to.
- Make sure someone is with them if they are in immediate danger.
- If you're unsure about how to help, reach out to medical professionals for guidance.
"I know how difficult it has been for Filipinos enduring the setbacks brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and of the quarantine to prevent further transmission... With compassion and understanding for others, we can recognize the signs and educate ourselves how to access help," said World Health Organization Representative in the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe.