May is considered Mental Health Month and just in time for its observance, the Department of Health and the National Center for Mental Health launched a new mental health crisis hotline that will operate 24/7 to help Filipinos who are experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts, grief and loss, relationship issues, sexual abuse, domestic violence, gender identity and sexual orientation issues, school and career issues.
“The hotline aims to reach out to those who do not have the immediate means to seek advice and serves as an avenue to offer hope and care for those who have mental health issues,” NCMH Medical Center chief Allan Troy Baquir said.
Callers can reach the hotline through 0917-899-USAP (8727) or 0917-989-8727. The DOH said the system is handled by trained personnel who can refer the individuals to counselors and agencies that can provide specific mental health services.
Prior to this new hotline, there was a toll-free line established in 2016 by the non-profit Natasha Goulborn Foundation (NGF) in partnership with the DOH and a local service provider. It was called the Hopeline. But according to some callers, it was rarely available with operators mostly untrained to address specific needs.
The concerned agencies said the issues arose from the big bulk of calls they are receiving. They also assured the public that its operators are trained individuals and that reports by callers who said they were met with unprofessional operators are being investigated.
Just this week, the World Health Organization defined burnout as an “occupational phenomenon (although the day before the announcement it mistakenly confirmed it was a disease) resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Dr. Robert D. Buenaventura, a life fellow at the Philippine Psychiatric Association during a talk about depression at the Fundacion Sanso last week, said that there are similarities to the manifestation of burnout to depression. It is mostly because its symptoms are comorbid medical conditions which effects hinder daily function.
ART MELANIE CHANG