Mind You features in #theNEOway: Mental Health in the Philippines
CEO at Mind You
The mental health landscape in the Philippines has always been ripe for transformation – even pre-pandemic. According to the World Health Organization (2017), around 6 million Filipinos are estimated to live with depression and/or anxiety, making the Philippines the country with the third highest rate of mental health problems in the Western Pacific Region. The pandemic simply exacerbated these challenges: a study by UNICEF last year showed that 30% of households reported that someone in their household had developed mental health symptoms during the pandemic. With news of new COVID variants and every-changing quarantine protocols, it is understandable that the general mood is one of frustration and ongoing anxiety.
What’s more is that culturally, mental health is still predominantly perceived as ‘taboo’ or a passing trend. The important of ‘resilience’ is ingrained in us at a young age, and this concept is used to almost invalidate the presence of mental health challenges. We tell our loved ones that they should ‘just get over it’, or ‘others have it worse’. It is widely believed that to seek out a therapist, one must already be at their breaking point. The stigma is further reinforced by the socio-economic barriers that still exist, wherein therapy sessions can cost Php3,000 or more, rendering it virtually inaccessible to the general population.
These circumstances painted an eye-opening picture of the work that needs to be done in the Philippines, and brought forth the conceptualisation of Mind You. Our objective is to lower costs, bridge the gap between demand and access to mental healthcare services via tele-psychology, and to de-stigmatize the misconceptions surrounding mental health.
Our current focus is to provide services to organisations. The pandemic has certainly illuminated existing challenges and created new ones in the work space, but we do have some useful mental health tips to recommend. One important tip is to ensure you are forming – and maintaining – authentic relationships. In a time of social distance, it is key that we continue to make meaningful connections with others. Secondly, remember to create healthy work-life boundaries, whatever this may mean in your own circumstances. Finally, consider starting a journal. Journaling allows you to unlock a deeper level of introspection to help you process and acknowledge your challenges. When we can articulate what makes us tick, and what brings us joy, we are better able to equip ourselves with the appropriate coping mechanisms to deal with whatever comes our way.
Ultimately, real inter-generational change will require effort from every level of society, from policy makers to organisations, even down to the individual. Simply opening up to have a conversation about your loved one’s mental health is already a huge step in the right direction. If we can create a society that is more secure and informed, we create one that is more empowered, and we open up ourselves to a future of limitless potential.
#theNEOway Newsletter October 2021
Available at: <https://mailchi.mp/43fc7f416e68/theneoway-newsletter-7929153>