The Philippine National Center for Mental Health’s crisis telephone hotline has been receiving about 900 calls a month since April 2020, a few weeks after the country’s lockdown took effect. In comparison, the center was receiving about 400 calls per month from May 2019 to February 2020.
That fact is telling so much about the state of mental health among numerous Filipinos. Although there is still no official statistics about such cases, the government has already been acknowledging that the cases of depression and related mental disorders are on the rise due to the intertwining effects of the ongoing pandemic—from fear of contracting the dreaded disease to job losses.
It is also not helping that the quarantine programs have been limiting the socialization opportunities among most of the population. In terms of an individual’s spiritual wellbeing, the public is still restricted from attending large gatherings like Mass celebrations, which is somehow adding to the emotional and psychological burden of some.
The situation has prompted the ASEAN Youth Advocates Network (AYAN) to organize the ASEAN Youth Mental Health Summit 2020. The three-day virtual conference, which is set from October 29 to 31, 2020, is also in line with the World Mental Health Day, which was observed globally on October 10.
With the theme ‘Mental Health Awareness Amidst the Pandemic,’ the ASEAN Youth Mental Health Summit 2020 will facilitate Kumustahan Sessions on October 29 and 30. Those sessions will be similar to a support group, wherein participants will be grouped per country and assigned to separate Zoom breakout rooms. A resource speaker will also be the facilitator of helpful discussions to promote healthy mental health practices during these trying times. (The event proper starts at 8 p.m.)
A Virtual Session is set for October 31. There will be speakers and other professionals who will discuss the detrimental effects of the pandemic on every individual’s mental health. The conference will be facilitated via Zoom and Facebook. (Event starts earlier at 6 p.m.)
“We understand that mental health is just as important as physical health and that one correlates with the other,” a statement from AYAN reads. “With the devastating effects of the pandemic, not only has it affected the physical health of people all over the world, but it also has profound effects on everyone’s mental health. That is why, this summit, we are giving mental health experts a platform to help reach more people as we raise awareness, and to help encourage the youth all over the ASEAN regions to seek the help that they may need.”
To register for the ASEAN Mental Health Summit 2020, click here.