Kumu, which launched in 2017, is currently one of the biggest social networking platforms in the Philippines. The social media entertainment app that allows users to livestream, video chat, play games and even run a business was developed by Filipino entrepreneurs based in the United States. It’s widely known as the Pinoy community platform that gathers Filipinos all over the world to share stories and engage with one another. Evidently, Kumu is a fast-growing social media channel that is gaining a lot of traction and providing a new outlook on how individuals can interact with an audience that finds interest in their content.
Earlier this year, Mind You set its sights on joining the platform to address one of its goals, which is to open up the conversation on mental health on a greater scale. At present, the organization has released a podcast channel in the past month called “An Open Mind with Liza Soberano” alongside a Kumu channel hosted by one of Kumu’s founding talents, Geli Cruz, in the hopes of breaking stigmas of mental health in the country. Alongside Geli Cruz are regular co-hosts Rea Villa (Senior Psychologist of Mind You) and Michelle Gomez (mental health advocate & Miss Earth Colombia 2016).
Geli Cruz, an avid music and lifestyle streamer on Kumu and the current host of the Mind You Kumu channel, shares her “why” behind joining this Mind You initiative, “Paying it forward in my most troubled times, there was always that one glimmer of hope that kept me going. I openly and proudly advocate for mental health because it is my turn to be that glimmer of hope for someone else, and eventually – the world.”
Cruz is confident that Mind You will be able to change the mental health landscape of the Philippines through Kumu, and is thrilled about the opportunity. She believes that this platform is where Filipinos from all walks of life interact in a safe and welcoming space. Through this Kumunity, Mind You will be able to reach and help more Filipinos in a more impactful way. “I hope to see a society where Filipinos are not scared to live openly and loudly- to stay true to who they really are.” she says.
Rea Celine Villa, Mind You’s senior psychologist, and co-author of the very first Filipino Youth Depression Scale — a self-assessment tool to measure an individual’s depressive tendencies. Her expertise in the mental health field serves as a valuable asset in the Kumu mental health Kumunity. She shares her thoughts on the status of mental health in the Philippines. “When it comes to mental health, if you’re not a psychologist, you would ask yourself, am I depressed, anxious? Sometimes it’s tricky because you don’t know the levels. In the Philippines, we’re just starting to be aware of our emotions, our thoughts and behavior. It’s more of a challenge. However because of Mind You and other mental health professionals advocating for mental health then in due time at least we’ll be more aware.”
Alongside Geli Cruz and Rea Villa is Michelle Gomez, who was crowned Miss Earth Colombia 2016 and openly shares that mental health is her main advocacy following her pageantry. She shares reason behind joining the Kumu channel. “Mental health is my main advocacy, and I truly believe that educating people about it will create a change in our society, Mind You gave us a great platform to talk about mental health and break the stigma around it, I’m thrilled that I can be part of this.”
When asked if her pageantry experience guided her through mental health conversations, Gomez states “Definitely my pageant career has taught me how to be more tolerant and less judgmental. I’ve seen girls shining on stage but completely broken in real life, I am one of them. When we talk about our mental health we cannot expect everyone to see it as we do, not everyone has experienced the same things we have. That’s where we have to stop our judgment and open our empathetic ones to understand better what others might be going through.”
These women with various backgrounds showcase that mental health can stem from diverse backgrounds. Geli Cruz, Michelle Gomez and Rea Villa are working together to do their part to break the stigma surrounding mental health in the country through this Kumu channel. With their vast experience and knowledge, you can expect to learn a lot not only about yourself, but also the society and the importance of recognizing each one’s mental health journey.
Check out the Mind You Kumu channel as it goes live every Wednesday and Saturday at 8 pm PST, where Geli Cruz and her co-hosts talk about everything and anything under the sun about how to better care for our mental health and wellbeing.