MANILA, Philippines — Mental health awareness is an important discussion around the world, and thankfully, because of the growing movement surrounding it, more and more organizations are being put up to lend a helping hand to everyone suffering mentally in some degree. It’s no surprise that in years past, the mere act of talking about mental health was largely frowned upon, ridiculed, and mocked, even, but due to the incessant endeavors of health professionals, advocacies, and groups, the discussion has become all the more widespread and commonplace.
As a result, initiatives like Mental Health Awareness Month, while observed for decades before the subject matter has been put to the fore and pushed to be normalized down to everyday people, has grown to be a dedicated time to amplify voices surrounding issues of mental health. Instead of it being a rare occasion where people are “allowed” to seek help and bring these topics to light, like it has been for the past few years. But there’s still so much to be done in terms of raising awareness and making people feel like they are truly not alone.
After all, the reality is that all of us are going to face different levels of mental health difficulties, even beyond the month of May, or any dedicated calendar space. There’s also a chance that some of us are suffering from undiagnosed mental health illnesses, but are struggling to find help, anyone who understands, or anything that could help us understand.
Diagnosed or not, we all need some sense of support in these times—especially these times. With the majority of us feeling stuck, lost, and helpless in the middle of our country’s fight against the virus, it’s not an exaggeration to say that our general morale is at its all time low. Needless to say, we need all the help we can get.
Thankfully, these organizations are here, and ready to offer some support, insight, or just an empathetic ear to listen to our worries:
Hotlines to call:
- National Mental Health Crisis Hotline is the Department of Health’s mental health initiative that caters to anyone suffering mentally. It provides assistance for free on a 24 hours, seven-days a week basis to individuals with mental health problems, especially those who are in crisis and at risk of suicidal tendencies.
- Globe/TM users: 0966-351-4518 / 0917-899-8727 / 0917-899-USAP
- Smart/Sun/TNT users: 0908-639-2672
- Luzon-wide landline (toll-free): 1553
- Open Counseling is a global organization that gathers information people might need to seek professional help based on where they live. The website has a dedicated page for each country that categorizes numbers and foundations to reach out to based on what you need (i.e. suicide prevention, alcohol & substance abuse, eating disorders, domestic & sexual abuse, etc.) For the Philippines’ list of hotlines, click here.
- Hopeline PH is Globe Telecom’s 24/7 suicide prevention and crisis support helpline that connects you to a group of mental health experts who you can talk to and seek counsel from. The group’s Facebook page is also active in driving forward the culture of checking in with one another, and removing the negative misconceptions that “therapy” has in Filipino society.
- PLDT landline: 8804-4673
- Globe users: 09175584673
- Smart users: 09188734673
- Globe / TM (toll-free): 2919
- Silakbo is an advocacy group of students and young professionals who aim to provide mental health education for Filipinos through stories, paintings, and other creative projects. The group focuses on empowering everyone with mental health awareness, and not just individuals with formal diagnoses. As part of its mission to de-stigmatize this issue, Silakbo has put up a comprehensive list of organizations that can help any individual going through a rough patch. If you want to be part of the Silakbo community, you can also join this private Facebook group.
Pages to follow:
Aside from the pages of those mentioned above, there are also a lot of Facebook pages, or Instagram accounts that regularly post content dedicated to mental health awareness. This includes tips on how to deal with anxiety, how to check in with friends and loved ones, and resources that can help us understand our own brains a bit better. Sometimes you just need an inspirational or educational post to feel like you’re not going insane.
Here are some to check out:
Anxiety Management (@anxiety_wellbeing)
The Depression Project (@realdepressionproject)
DLC Anxiety Worldwide (@dlcanxiety)
Mental Health Matters PH (@mentalhealthmattersph)
Dr. Nicole LePera (@the.holistic.psychologist)
Of course, mental health is a daily battle to overcome, and there is no “one size fits all” solution that can magically make all the bad thoughts go away. Even mental health experts admit to having bad days every now and again. The most important thing is to recognize the bits about yourself that need to be unlearned or relearned, and work on it. Every. Single. Day. Hopefully, these foundations, organizations, and social media platforms can give you that extra boost towards brighter tomorrows.