By Tracy Cabrera
PEOPLE who are experiencing stress and anxiety due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and other mental health concerns can now seek help through the Department of Health’s ‘Kapit-Bisig’ program which provides the appropriate intervention to individuals who may be at risk of developing mental disorders.
According to DoH regional director Eduardo Janairo, the program’s purpose is to provide support service to persons with psychosocial and mental health issues and to help them handle their situation for them to recover appropriately.
“Facing the COVID-19 pandemic gives us stress and mental health concerns, so much fear and worry about your own health and the health of family, including your financial situation, your job, or the loss of support services you rely on causes strong emotions, especially among adults. Public safety measures such as social distancing can also make some people feel isolated which can further cause anxiety although these actions are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus,” Janairo explained.
“Nakikita natin ito sa mga social platforms like Facebook, wherein people are posting and expressing about their worries and fears sa Covid-19. Me mga humihingi ng tulong on how to manage themselves during this pandemic,” he added.
The health official noted how the present occurrences and developments concerning today’s health crisis is giving most people problems in general.
“Lahat tayo affected, no one is spared. Iniisip mo pa lang na sa paglabas mo ng bahay at pagbili ng gamot o pagkain eh baka magka-COVID ka na can affect your behavior. And sometimes this panic may even trigger some underlying unresolved or suppressed trauma and we should be careful and delicate on how to handle these situations,” Janairo pointed out.
Among the clients who were given mental health and psychosocial support service (MHPSS) by the newly established ‘Kapit-Bisig’ facility in Region IVa were those suffering from depression with suicidal thoughts, panic attack, anxiety disorder, hallucination, adjustment disorder and bipolar disorder.
From April 28, 2020 to July 31, 2020, there were 105 clients from the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon area who were given psychosocial support service, 72 from the National Capital Region, 31 from Central Luzon, six from Central Visayas, five each from Eastern Visayas, Bicol Region and Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan (Region IVb), three from Ilocos Region, two from Cordillera Autonomous Region, two from Zamboanga Peninsula and one each from Cagayan Valley, Northern Mindanao and Davao Region.
Three other clients who didn’t identify their place of residence were given MHPSS. Ages of clients ranged from 16 to 67 years old.
A total of 184 clients have availed of the service and were given mental health and psychosocial support service (MHPSS), 103 of these were referred to their respective regions.
According to DoH Regional IVa mental health coordinator Paulina Calo, the Kapit-Bisig Helpline uses an online platform (Facebook, Messenger) to provide psychological first aid (PFA), psychological interventions, psychiatric consultation and treatment and referral to other health-related services.